A man who locked a church and shot dead one and injured five others at its Taiwanese-American synagogue was motivated by hatred for the island and its people, U.S. investigators said Monday.
David Chow closed the door using chains and superglue as dozens of parishioners enjoyed a post-service feast at the church in Laguna Woods, near Los Angeles.
The 68-year-old American man hid bags with Molotov cocktails and extra ammunition around the building before firing with two handguns, which investigators said was a “systematic” attempt to commit murder.
Orange County Sheriff Don Burns said, “We know he created a strategy that he wanted to recruit.”
“It was very well thought out how he prepared, both to be there, to secure the location, to place things inside the house to accommodate the extra prey when the opportunity arises,” he added.
Chou, who works as a security guard in Las Vegas, launched the attack on “politically motivated hatred … (and) outraged by the political tensions between China and Taiwan.”
Sheriff Burns says Chou is a U.S. citizen who immigrated from China.
Meanwhile, an official at Taiwan’s trade office in Los Angeles told AFP that he was born on the island in 1953.
Taiwan has been independent since the end of the civil war in 1949. It has its own democratically elected government and a strong military.
Authoritarian China claims the island as its own, insisting it is an arbitrary province that will one day be shaken.
Details of the heroism of a parishioner appeared on Monday, who confronted the chowk as soon as the shooting started.
John Cheng, a doctor, accused Choke of bringing him to the ground, while others allowed him to hog until police arrived.
“Without Dr. Cheng’s actions, there is no doubt that there would have been countless additional victims of this crime,” Burns said.
“Unfortunately, after Dr. Cheng confronted the suspect, he was shot and pronounced dead on the spot.”
Five others injured in the attack have been taken to hospital. Their ages range from 66 to 92.
The shooting came just 24 hours after a gunman killed 10 people in Buffalo, which is being investigated as a racist attack.
Gun violence is very common in the United States, where deadly weapons are readily available, and a powerful gun lobby works to prevent control over their sale and distribution.
According to the Gun Violence Archive website, more than 45,000 Americans have died from guns – half by suicide – in 2021, just over 39,000 in 2019.
More than 7,000 people have already been killed in homicides or inadvertent gun shootings in the United States this year, with shootings in public places occurring almost daily.
According to the archives, there have been 202 mass shootings so far this year, defined as one in which four or more people were injured or killed.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)