A 68-year-old guy accused of killing one individual and injuring 5 others at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods has been charged with hate crime improvements, Orange County prosecutors introduced Friday.
David Wenwei Chou of Las Vegas had up to now been charged with homicide, tried homicide and different legal counts within the Would possibly 15 capturing.
Prosecutors this week added a hate crimes enhancement to the homicide fee, alleging that Chou’s killing of Dr. John Cheng, 52, was once motivated through race, colour, faith, nationality or nation of beginning.
Prosecutors additionally added hate crime improvements for each and every of the 5 counts of tried homicide towards Chou.
Chou may just face the dying penalty if convicted of all fees, which additionally come with 4 counts of ownership of an explosive instrument, improvements of mendacity in wait and private discharge of a firearm inflicting dying. He has no longer entered a plea, in line with courtroom data.
The dislike crime improvements have been filed after prosecutors reviewed further proof, Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer stated. Government didn’t supply information about that proof.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes closing month characterised the shootings as a “politically motivated hate incident” and stated government suppose Chou “particularly centered the Taiwanese neighborhood.”
Barnes stated Chou left notes in Chinese language in his automobile pointing out that he didn’t imagine Taiwan must be unbiased from China. He it sounds as if had a subject matter with Taiwanese other people on account of the best way he was once handled whilst residing in Taiwan, Barnes stated. Chou grew up in Taiwan as a waishengren — somebody with contemporary roots in China.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has grown increasingly more competitive about reclaiming the democratic, self-ruled island. Inside of Taiwan, a majority of other people prefer keeping up the established order, with some short of to overtly claim independence and a small minority short of to one day unify with China.
The Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church is understood for its beef up of pro-independence reasons, and the Laguna Woods congregation carried out products and services within the Taiwanese dialect, quite than Mandarin.
Prosecutors allege that Chou entered Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, the place the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church rents house, with two 9-millimeter handguns, a number of backpacks that contained additional magazines and 4 Molotov cocktail gadgets.
He allegedly concealed the backpacks in a church ceremonial dinner corridor and chained a number of doorways close, then mingled with parishioners. The crowd was once there for a luncheon honoring longtime Pastor Billy Chang, who was once visiting after two years in Taiwan.
When the gunman opened hearth, Cheng, the physician, fought again and was once fatally shot. 5 others, ranging in age from 66 to 92, have been hospitalized and survived.
After Cheng tried to forestall the gunman, Chang, the visiting pastor, ran as much as him with a chair as a weapon.
Chang stated he driven the gunman to the ground, then hogtied him with an electrical wire with the assistance of different parishioners, in line with officers and eyewitness accounts.
“He were given scared. I don’t suppose he anticipated somebody to assault him,” Chang stated in an interview with The Instances.