According to officials, a shooter who opened fire inside a Southern California church on Sunday, killing one person and injuring four others, was overpowered by congregants who then hogtied him, saving additional bloodshed.
The incident happened at 1:26 p.m. inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif., roughly 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, in a town primarily made up of seniors with a strong Asian culture.
The majority of the victims were of Taiwanese heritage. However, investigators were still investigating whether they had been targeted, according to Carrie Braun, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. The reason for the shooting was not immediately apparent.
She added that four of the patients were in serious condition, while another was treated for minor injuries. Authorities discovered the assailant inside the church, she claimed. Further information on the ailments of those hospitalized was not immediately available; the Sheriff’s Department identified them as four Asian males aged 66 to 92 and an 86-year-old Asian lady.
The attacker, an Asian guy in his 60s, opened fire inside the church while congregants were eating lunch following morning service, said Orange County Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Jeff Hallock during a press conference.
Before deputies came and brought him into jail, a group of churchgoers overpowered the gunman, hogtied him with an extension cable, and collected two firearms, he claimed.
“That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in interfering, in intervening, to stop the suspect,” Undersheriff Hallock said. “They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities.”
Investigators suspect the gunman does not reside in Laguna Woods, formed in 1999.
Officials are interviewing more than 30 persons inside the church during the incident. On Twitter, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives stated that it was assisting with the investigation.
The Rev. Albany Lee, who presides over the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, which is situated on the grounds of the Geneva Presbyterian Church, claimed in a series of text messages on Sunday that worshippers informed him the gunman “had a fresh face.”
“No one recognizes the shooter,” Mr. Lee said, adding that when a receptionist asked the gunman who he was, “he said he was here before.”
According to Mr. Lee, the guy who restrained the shooter was a pastor who led the Sunday services.
That pastor, who was not harmed, claimed to have “subdued the gunman before he loaded another round of bullets.” “Thank God,” he concluded.
Cynthia Conners, Laguna Woods’ mayor pro tem, stated that she has been a church member since 2006 and has attended Sunday morning services. According to Ms. Conners, who left the church about midday, the Taiwanese congregation shares the church area.
According to Charlotte Hsieh, the church’s organist, the church is located in a lovely retirement community in a safe area. “I couldn’t fathom something like this is happening here,” she remarked. “I’m as surprised as anyone.”
During the press conference, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett stated that “this is a dismal day.”
She observed that the church massacre occurred just one day after “the terrible and hate-filled deeds that resulted in the needless murders” in Buffalo, where nearly all ten persons shot and murdered were Black.
Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat from Orange County, called the news alarming, especially in light of the massacre in Buffalo. “This should not be our new normal,” she said.