A man accused of carrying out a deadly shooting at a church in Southern California on Sunday was fueled by hatred for Taiwanese people, authorities said Monday.
The alleged gunman, 68-year-old David Chou, was acting on “a grievance” with the Taiwanese community, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference Monday.
A U.S. citizen who immigrated from China and lives in Las Vegas, Chou was not a regular attendee of the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, and he had no ties to the church prior to the shooting, according to Barnes.
Authorities also said Chou secured the church doors with chains and attempted to disable the building’s locks with superglue before opening fire.
Chou allegedly opened fire during a post-church service lunch banquet at Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon. The shooting left one person dead—Dr. John Cheng—and five others wounded, including a married couple in their mid-80s. The sheriff’s office says parishioners detained the gunman, hog-tied his legs with an extension cord and confiscated his weapons prior to police arrival. Some 50 people were in attendance at the banquet, all of whom were Asian American, ranging from 66 to 92 years old, Barnes said.
China and Taiwan are in the thick of heightened tension as China expresses its desire to reunify with the independent island, even if that reunification is by force. The island split from mainland China in 1949, following a civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (which seized control of the mainland) and the Republic of China (which fled to Taiwan). Beijing has amplified military demonstrations that the Taiwanese government views as threats, with a record number of fighter jets flying near the neighboring island in January.
Authorities: Hate against Taiwanese led to church attack (Associated Press)