The doctor who was killed while bravely trying to stop the shooter at Geneva Presybertarian Church in Laguna Woods is being honored as a hero.
Witnesses say that Dr. John Cheng, 52, tackled the shooter once he noticed a gun, The Orange County Register reports. Cheng was shot several times while attempting to disarm the shooter, who police have identified as David Chou.
Police believe Cheng’s actions saved lives.
“Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, there is not doubt there would be numerous additional victims,” the OC Sheriff’s Department said, according to NBC Los Angeles.
The District Attorney’s office acknowledged Cheng’s bravery.
“He sacrificed himself so others could live,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Cheng specialized in sports medicine and helped co-found South Coast Medical Group. According to ABC 7, patients and colleagues have started a memorial outside of his family practice.
Aliso Niguel High varsity girls lacrosse coach Dave Elkins, who was a patient of Cheng’s, praised his kindness.
“All of my four kids when they were athletes went to him, too,” Elkins said in an interview with The Orange County Register. “He was just a great guy. Very strong in his faith and very strong in his belief in this country, very strong in this idea of doing the right thing.”
Cheng’s actions inside the church come as no surprise to his colleagues.
“He was a protector and that’s exactly what he did,” South Coast Medical Group Executive Director Johanna Gherardini told ABC 7.
Gherardini added that Cheng’s family is devastated. Cheng is survived by his wife and his two children.
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