Orange County Sports Doctor John Cheng was being hailed as a hero after tackling the gunman and attempting to disarm him during a mass shooting at a Laguna Woods church on Sunday, allowing parishioners to step in and help.
In a press conference, "Dr. Cheng is a hero," Orange County Sheriff Donald Barnes said. Based on the witnesses, Cheng tackled the gunman to stop him from attacking the congregation. His brave act lessened possible deaths and injuries.
"A critical truth of this church's faith is that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for their friend," Barnes posted in a tweet.
After Cheng has been shot, California Presbyterian Pastor Billy Chang seized his opportunity to hit the gunman who killed 1 person and wounded 4 others. He seized a chair and beat the gunman with it as he halted to reload his weapon, following which church members grabbed and hog-tied his legs with an electrical line, Los Angeles Times reported.
Barnes indicated that it was a hate incident. The suspect named David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, NV has been charged with one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder in connection with the Laguna Woods church incident. Based on their investigation, the suspect has known no ties within the church.
FBI agents and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives responded to the scene. According to Carrie Braun, a sheriff's spokesperson, the majority of persons inside the church at the time were of Taiwanese heritage.
Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said the group of churchgoers demonstrated "extraordinary heroism and bravery" in acting to stop the suspect. He noted that their intervention saved lives and prevented more injuries.
Joyous Celebration Turned Into Mourning
After the morning service on Sunday, about 40 parishioners of the Taiwanese Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Orange County, had finished their lunch when an Asian guy in his 60s with two handguns starts firing at the church members.
The lunch celebration was planned by congregants to recognize a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation who just returned from his mission in Taiwan. However, the supposed joyous event was filled with grief and disbelief among the congregation said Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang.
The Taiwanese parishioners came from an Irvine Presbyterian congregation that has been conducting services at the Geneva church for the past decade. Tom Cramer of the presbytery requested people to pray for the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva as they tend for those affected by the shooting.
"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," Gov. Gavin Newsom's office wrote on Twitter.
Laguna Woods Mayor Pro Tem Cynthia Conners told CNN that a representative from the Orange County Human Rights Commission would be brought in to ensure assure the safety of the Asian Community just like other members of the community though they feel "little less safe" today.
In response to the shooting, Taiwan's government said its Los Angeles office has initiated emergency response preparations.