Laguna Woods church shooting: Alleged gunman identified as 68-year-old man from Las Vegas

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. — One person is dead and at least five people were injured Sunday afternoon in a shooting at a Presbyterian church in Southern California.

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The shooting was reported shortly before 1:30 p.m. at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter.

Officials said a man died at the scene, and a fifth injured person suffered minor injuries. All the victims were adults.

Update 3:18 p.m. EDT May 16: The Orange County Sheriff said David Chou’s motive was an “individual grievance” with the Taiwanese community in general, KTTV reported.

Officials called it a “politically-motivated hate incident,” KCAL reported.

Chou had no known connection with the Laguna Woods church but secured the doors and started shooting, officials said during a news conference Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Law enforcement said Chou was a U.S. citizen who had immigrated from China. He was a security guard working in the Las Vegas area, KCAL reported.

Officials have identified the lone man who was killed during the shooting as Dr. John Cheng, 52. He was from Laguna Niguel and leaves behind a wife and two children, KTTV reported.

Cheng was pronounced dead at the scene.

Update 11:47 a.m. EDT May 16: Police have identified the alleged gunman as David Chou, 68 years old, from Las Vegas.

He has been charged with one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder, KNBC reported.

Original report: Police said the shooting suspect was eventually stopped by churchgoers, who overpowered him and then hogtied his legs with an extension cord until deputies arrived. They also removed two guns from the shooter, police said.

“I think it’s safe to say that had people not intervened, it could have been much worse,” Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said.

“That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,” Hallock says.

About 30 people witnessed the violence, said Carrie Braun, a sheriff’s spokesperson. Braun said that most of those inside the church are believed to be of Taiwanese descent.

Deputies detained the suspect, who is an Asian man in his 60s. Police say that the man is not believed to live in the community.

The gunfire erupted during a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of a Taiwanese congregation that has services at Geneva, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The shooting comes one day after an 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said that they were actively monitoring the situation.

Laguna Woods is located in Orange County, California and has a median age of 77, according to a 2010 census.

Most of the city consists of Laguna Woods Village, a private, gated retirement community formally known as Leisure World.

Check back for more on this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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