Suspect in Church Shooting Identified

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By Kat Wilcox via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Authorities have identified 68-year-old David Chou as a suspect in the shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California.

The shooting has killed one person and injured five, CNN reports. Chou, who is from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been booked on one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder.

Around 40 congregants gathered at the church to honor Taiwanese pastor Billy Chang, Al Jazeera reports. Chang served at the church for 20 years before moving back to Taiwan two years ago. This was his first time back in the United States.

Authorities believe Chou traveled from Las Vegas to Southern California on Saturday, a day before the shooting.

After the shooting began, it was pastor Chang who struck the suspect with a chair as he attempted to reload his gun.

The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime, NBC News reports. During a media briefing, Orange County Sheriff Donald Barnes said authorities believe Chou was “upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan.” Most of the congregants who attend the church are Taiwanese.

Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles has activated emergency response plans, CNN reports.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou said, according to CNN. “We will keep in touch with the family members of the victims to understand their needs, and provide all necessary help.”

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