David Chou arrested for shootings at Geneva Presbyterian Church; late Dr. John Cheng celebrated as hero
Photo: David Chou
David Chou, a 68-year-old resident of Las Vegas, has been arrested for injuring five individuals and killing one during a shooting rampage at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.
Dr. John Cheng, a 52-year-old man from Laguna Niguel, died from gunshot wounds sustained during the incident. Four other men (66, 92, 82, and 75 years old; all of Asian descent) and one woman (86, also of Asian descent) were injured and transported to a hospital for treatment of their gunshot wounds.
The shooting took place on Sunday, May 15th, during a lunch banquet being held by members of Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. This group had been meeting at that location since 2009; the banquet was being held to “welcome a pastor who had recently returned from Taiwan,” according to Orange County Sheriff investigators.
“Investigators believe the suspect may have traveled to the Southern California area on Saturday, May 14, 2022, and came to the church Sunday morning. During the lunch, the suspect is believed to have secured the doors to the building with chains and placed superglue into the keyholes. He then started shooting inside the building.”
As Chou was shooting, Cheng tackled him to the ground, receiving multiple gunshot wounds in the process. Other church members quickly tied up Chou’s legs with extension cords and took away the two handguns he was holding.
Police responded to the scene at about 1:30 PM, finding Chou still detained. They “immediately began lifesaving measures” on the five individuals who were shot until paramedics arrived. Cheng was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Officers searched the church building and found three bags believed to have been “strategically placed” by Chou for the attack. The bags contained “various items, including additional ammunition and four Molotov cocktail-type devices.”
Other evidence has since been located to link Chou to the attack, including items in his vehicle—which was located in the church parking lot—and electronics recovered inside his Las Vegas home.
Chou, who later “indicated” to investigators that he was born and raised in Taiwan, had written about how he “fostered a grievance against the Taiwanese community and he was upset about the political tensions between China and Taiwan,” said the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“‘It appears this tragic incident was fueled by politically motivated hate, and that is something we do not tolerate,’” said Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes. “‘Orange County is a community that celebrates diversity and takes pride in being a place people feel safe to worship, work and live. While someone from outside our community has attempted to diminish these ideals through an act of violence, we remain united in our commitment to tolerance and acceptance.’”
Cheng, who had accompanied his mother to the church banquet, is being celebrated as a hero. “‘Dr. Cheng was a loving family man, dedicated doctor and a beloved member of our community, and we send our deepest condolences to all who knew him,’” said Barnes. “‘There is no doubt that Dr. Cheng’s actions that day saved the lives of many other church members. He is a hero and will be remembered by this community as such.’”