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Chinese national, 68, id as Orange County church shooter that killed one, injured 5

David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman
Pictured, David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman.
David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman
Pictured, David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman and Pastor Billy Chang.

David Wenwei Chou Las Vegas man id as Geneva Presbyterian Church shooter in Laguna Woods, Orange County. Political tensions between China and Taiwan inspire blood-shed. 

A Sunday afternoon shooting at a California church frequented by a local Taiwanese community left one person dead and five injured before congregants tackled the shooter, hogtied him with an extension cord and grabbed his two weapons, authorities said.

The shooter was identified as an Asian male in his 60’s, unknown to congregants at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods. At least two weapons were taken from the suspect by the parishioners, officials said

The suspect, who was not injured during the incident was on Monday morning identified as Chinese national, David Wenwei Chou, 68, of Las Vegas. Officials would later report that David Chou was motivated by ‘political tensions between China and Taiwan.’

Chou was arrested Sunday and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail at the Orange County Intake Release Center, jail records show. His initial court appearance is currently scheduled for Tuesday.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said he was booked on one count of murder and five counts attempted murder.

‘I knew something was wrong…’ 

Gunfire rang out at 1:26 p.m. inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the 24000 block of El Toro Road, Laguna Woods. Between 30 and 40 congregants of the of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church were attending the banquet after a morning church service. A law enforcement source said the gunman had sealed the doors to prevent parishioners escaping.

The congregation had just finished eating lunch and were taking photos with Pastor Billy Chang (pictured above) who was returning after two years in Taiwan when the shooting began, said Jerry Chen, 72, who was in a nearby kitchen at the time.

‘I heard the gun sounds,’ Chen told the latimes. ‘Then I heard two or three more gunshots. He was just randomly shooting. I saw some people fall down or go under the table. I knew something was wrong. I called 911.’

The pastor hit the gunman with a chair when the shooter paused to reload his weapon, Chen said, before other members of the congregation tackled him.

‘That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery,’ Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said during a Sunday press conference. ‘It’s safe to say that had they not intervened this situation could have been much worse.’

Of disconcert, was whether the bloodshed was the result of a targeted racist shooting aiming at a local Asian community?

The violence left the south Orange County suburb — home to the sprawling retirement community once known as Leisure World — reeling, less than a day after a racist attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket left 10 black people dead and three others injured. 

David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman
Pictured, David Wenwei Chou Geneva Presbyterian Church gunman who is known for member of the New Party of Taiwan known for promoting unification and against Taiwan independence in the USA.

Political tensions

Identified as the fatal victim, was physician, John Cheng. He leaves behind a wife and two children. The injured — four men ages 66, 92, 82 and 75, and an 86-year-old woman — were all Asian, officials said. All five were shot and four sustained critical injuries.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department detained David Wenwei Chou and recovered two concealed commercially available handguns from the suspect, officials said.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, deputies revealed that the gunman was motivated by his victims’ ethnicity according to the Orange County Register.

Taiwan is a sovereign island-nation about 100 miles off the coast of China. The small country is still claimed by China, though it has its own representation at the United Nations and is recognized as independent by 13 countries and the Vatican.

Before the service started, members had greeted Chou — whom they had never seen before — and welcomed him. He told them he had attended services several times, but the members were doubtful because no one recognized him, Chen said.

The congregants were members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, which has been holding services at Geneva for 10 years.

The congregation has been active in the local Taiwanese community, holding weekly educational seminars and workshops. It’s one of the largest Taiwanese churches in the city, he said.

Laguna Woods is a community comprised primarily of senior citizens, with 82% of residents reportedly over the age of 65, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.