Los Angeles [United States]: A Chinese immigrant opened fire at a Taiwanese church in the US state of California on Sunday, killing one and injuring five.
David Chou, 68, was apparently motivated by hatred against Taiwan in the wake of rising tensions between the two neighbours.
The suspect secured church doors in Laguna Woods, near Los Angeles, with chains and tried to disable locks with superglue. He also attempted to nail at least one door shut, LA Times stated, quoting Orange County Official Barnes.
“The majority of the people in attendance were elderly, and they acted spontaneously, heroically,” Barnes said. “And if not for their quick action, the way that this individual set up that environment to kill many more people, there would have been many, many more lives lost if not for the concerted effort of the members of that church,” he further added.
As per the reports, Chou was arrested Sunday and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail at the Orange County Intake Release Center, and jail records show as he is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
Bags containing magazines of ammunition, as well as four Molotov cocktail-like incendiary devices, were found at the scene, and the FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the shooting, which happened Sunday at around 1:30 p.m.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has grown increasingly aggressive about reclaiming the democratic, self-ruled island.
According to Barnes, Chou was born in mainland China and at some point relocated to Taiwan before moving to the United States. Chou apparently had an issue with Taiwanese people because of how he was treated while living there, Barnes added.
But an official from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles said Chou was born in Taiwan, holds a Taiwanese passport and did compulsory military service in Taiwan.
Those injured in the shooting ranged in age from 66 to 92. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said he was booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Louis M. Huang, director-general of s the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, said his office has reached out to family members of all victims, four of whom held Taiwanese citizenship.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan despite the two sides being governed separately for more than seven decades. Taipei continues to counter the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies, including the US. On the other hand, Taipei has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies, including the US, which Beijing has repeatedly opposed. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war. (ANI)