Six people were killed in a church shooting in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday.
A 68-year-old US citizen who immigrated from China is suspected of being attacked at a lunch after mass at a Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. Hatred of Taiwanese has been cited as a possible motive.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference that he was upset by the political tensions between China and Taiwan.
All indications are that the man acted alone. He lived in Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada, where he worked as a security guard. He did not yet feel any connection to the Church, and he himself did not belong to any religious group.
The information we collected indicates that this was a politically motivated hate incident, and that this individual felt dissatisfied with Taiwanese society in general, says Barnes.
The man entered the church hall, where a lunch was held with about 50 participants after mass, to welcome a pastor who had returned after a stint in Taiwan. According to the police, he tied up the church door, glued the locks, put four Molotov cocktails and opened fire.
Jerry Chen, a 72-year-old restaurateur, looked in the corner from the kitchen when he heard gunshots. There he saw people screaming, running and hiding under the tables.
– I understand that someone shot. I was very, very scared. He ran out the kitchen door to call (the emergency number) 911, he told The Associated Press.
Six people were shot, including 52-year-old Jun Cheng, who died of his injuries.
– Dr. Cheng is considered a hero in this incident, and according to eyewitnesses, he apparently attacked the suspect and tried to disarm him, which enabled others to arrest him. Had it not been for Dr. Cheng, Barnes says, there would have been more victims in this work.
An old couple of victims
The pastor must, among other things, throw or hit a chair in the head of the offender. The churchmen then tied the man with an electric wire and held him until the police closed the door and arrested him.
Police seized two semi-automatic pistols and additional safes. Weapons were purchased legally.
Police said that the condition of two of the five injured is good, two are stable, and the last is unclear. Among the victims was a married couple in their 80s.
The reason for the man’s attack is not clear. A former neighbor told The Associated Press that the suspect owned a condominium, but that his mental state deteriorated after he was attacked in the head by a tenant, and that the 68-year-old subsequently sold the property.
The neighbor says the man fired a pistol in his apartment, leading to his eviction, and his mental state appears to have deteriorated in recent months.
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