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Might 16 (Reuters) – The person accused of killing a physician and wounding 5 different individuals in a capturing at a Taiwanese-American church banquet in California methodically deliberate the assault as a result of he was upset over Chinese language-Taiwanese tensions, authorities stated on Monday.

The suspect, David Chou, 68, chained the doorways and positioned glue within the locks at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, about 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Los Angeles, earlier than opening fireplace contained in the church on Sunday, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes stated Monday.

As much as 40 individuals, members of a Taiwanese Presbyterian congregation from close by Irvine, California, that has area within the church, have been attending a luncheon honoring a former native pastor when the capturing started, sheriff’s officers stated.

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Chou, described by the sheriff as a U.S. citizen and Las Vegas resident born in China, drove to Southern California on Saturday and got here to the church on Sunday morning, authorities stated. After the capturing, investigators discovered three luggage positioned across the church constructing with varied gadgets, together with further ammunition and 4 Molotov cocktail-like gadgets.

The FBI stated it was opening a hate crimes investigation within the case.

The sheriff’s division issued a press release late on Monday saying investigators had “decided that the suspect was upset about political tensions involving China and Taiwan” however didn’t elaborate.

In Chou’s automobile, Barnes stated, investigators discovered notes written in Mandarin that indicated an obsession with Taiwan and a dislike of Taiwanese individuals.

China views Taiwan, a democratically ruled island, as its “sacred” territory and has by no means renounced the attainable use of drive to convey it beneath Beijing’s management.

Taiwan rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, saying that it’s already impartial and that solely its 23 million individuals can resolve their future.

All the victims – whose names haven’t been launched – have been of Asian heritage.

The gun violence in California got here on the identical day as a separate mass capturing at a grocery retailer in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, that left 10 individuals useless and three others wounded. A lot of the victims of that assault, which the FBI has labeled an act of racially motivated violent extremism, have been Black. learn extra

Amongst these killed within the Laguna Woods church capturing was a doctor Dr. John Cheng, 52, who was shot when he tackled the gunman, Barnes stated, crediting Cheng’s act of bravery with stopping extra fatalities.

Subduing Chou gave different congregants, together with a pastor, the chance to overpower him and tie his legs with {an electrical} wire, detaining him till sheriff’s deputies arrived and broke by the chains on the doorways.

Chou, who stays in custody, was believed to be appearing alone, Barnes stated. He bought two weapons used within the assault legally in Las Vegas, the place he rented a room in a shared residence. He possible shall be charged with one depend of homicide, 5 counts of tried homicide and 4 counts of illegal possession of explosives at an arraignment set for Tuesday, Orange County District Lawyer Todd Spitzer instructed reporters.

The wounded, 4 males ranging in age from 66 to 92 and an 86-year-old lady, have been taken to space hospitals for therapy, the sheriff’s division stated.

The capturing unfolded throughout a lunch reception the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church congregation had organized for a former pastor who had left United States and relocated in Taiwan however returned for a go to, Tom Cramer, chief of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos and a former pastor on the Geneva Presbyterian Church, stated in an interview.

Spitzer stated he was contemplating in search of the dying penalty within the case, although California has not executed a prisoner in additional than a decade. Spitzer stated he visited the church social corridor on Sunday to see the carnage for himself.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was deeply involved in regards to the incident and has instructed the island’s international ministry to assist the victims and their households, the ministry stated on Tuesday.

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Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California, Kanishka Singh in Washington and Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Extra reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei; Enhancing by Jonathan Oatis, Heather Timmons and Rosalba O’Brien

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