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DA: Suspected Southern California church shooter charged with murder, five counts of attempted murder

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (KION-TV) UPDATE MAY 17, 2022, at 12:12 p.m.— The suspected Geneva Presbyterian Church shooter was charged with five counts of attempted murder and murder with a special circumstance of the use of a gun and lying in wait, said the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

David Chou, 68 years old, of Las Vegas, was arrested on Sunday after fatally shooting churchgoer Dr. John Cheng, a sports medicine doctor who "took heroic action" and charged the gunman, according to police.

As Cheng rushed the gunman while churchgoers, who ranged between 66 and 90 years old, subdued the gunman and undoubtedly saved more lives, said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes.

Barnes added that the evidence points to Chou being motivated by a grievance between himself and the "Taiwanese community at large." Firearms, a bag full of ammunition, and four Molotov cocktail-like incendiary devices were also recovered by police.

Cheng leaves behind a wife and two children, officials said. Two additional victims are now listed in good condition. Two remain in stable condition, and one's condition is still unknown, according to our CBS affiliate.

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UPDATE MAY 15, 2022, at 8:12 p.m.— The Orange County Sheriff's Department has released an incident report about a mass shooting inside Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday.

When police arrived at a scene after reports of a man with a gun on the 2400o block of El Toro Road, the congregation had tackled the suspect and tied his legs with an extension cord already, according to police.

The suspect, who police describe as an Asian man in his 60s, had managed to injure five people, critically injure 4 of them, and kill one person before police arrived.

The five injured victims suffered gunshot wounds and were described as:

  • A 66-year-old Asian man
  • A 92-year-old Asian man
  • A 82-year-old Asian man
  • A 75-year-old Asian man
  • A 86-year-old Asian woman

The deceased victim's identity will be revealed once the next of kin is notified.

The sheriff's office said the suspect's identity will be released once they are booked into Orange County Jail. They are working to find out if the man had any connection to the church and where he lived.

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UPDATE MAY 15, 2022, at 5:52 p.m.— The Orange County Sheriff's Department said churchgoers "hog-tied" the gunman who shot multiple people inside Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday.

The shooting suspect is an Asian man in his 60s, and investigators do not believe he lives in the community.

The shooting happened after a banquet after morning service at the church, and by the time police arrived, the suspect was already hog-tied.

"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 said.

Police said 30 to 40 people were inside the church, and two handguns were recovered.

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UPDATE MAY 15, 2022, at 2:52 p.m.— The Orange County Sheriff's Department says that six total people were shot inside Geneva Presbyterian Church at 1:26 p.m. on Sunday.

Four of the victims have been critically wounded, one victim has minor injuries, and one victim was found dead on the scene, according to the sheriff's department. All of the victims are adults.

A suspect was detained at the scene. El Toro Road is closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren, according to the sheriff's department.

The Office of the Governor of California said in a tweet:

"We are actively monitoring the shooting at a church in Laguna Woods and working closely with local law enforcement.

No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event."

ORIGINAL STORY

Authorities say multiple people have been shot at a church in Southern California.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department says on Twitter that the shooting happened at an unnamed church on the 24000 block of El Toro Road in the city of Laguna Woods.

The department says one person has been detained and a weapon has been recovered. Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the scene.

No further details are immediately available. Laguna Woods is a city of about 16,000 people located 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. 

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23

The Associated Press

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