LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspected shooter at a Laguna Woods church as 68-year-old David Chou of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Chou, an Asian man, is being held on $1 million bail. He has been booked on one felony count of murder and five felony counts of attempted murder.
During a noon news conference, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said the shooting was a politically motivated hate crime and drove from Las Vegas to Orange County to commit the shooting. Chou had no connection to the church.
8 News Now reporter Joe Moeller has learned Chou was living in a local apartment in the Spring Valley area west of Chinatown until sometime around February.
Balmore Orellana, said he was Chou’s neighbor and describes Chou as an overall “friendly” person. Orellana did say he knew Chou had a gun because Chou accidentally fired a bullet through his wall near a child’s bed.
Chou is accused of entering the Irvine Geneva Presbyterian Church Sunday and opening fire. The shots were fired during a lunch reception. One person, John Cheng, was killed and four others were critically injured.
It’s estimated as many as three dozen people were in the church at the time of the shooting. The gunman was stopped after he was struck by a chair thrown by a visiting pastor and a group of parishioners tackled and tied him up.
The sheriff called the parishioners’ actions brave and heroic and said they saved lives.
The FBI has initiated a federal hate crimes investigation into the shooting.