A gunman who opened fire at a California church on Sunday, killing one and wounding five others, was restrained after a pastor hit him over the head with a chair and parishioners tied him up with electrical cords
The shooting took place at 1.26pm inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, an area about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles that has a large Asian community.
Church-goers had been gathered for a lunch reception when the deadly shooting occurred.
Members had just finished lunch and were taking pictures with Pastor Chang when gunshots started being fired, longtime congregant Jerry Chen, 72, told the .
Chen called 911, and was later told by other congregants how Pastor Chang hit the gunman over the head with a chair and hogtied him with an extension cord, subduing him until officials arrived.
About 30 to 40 people were inside the church at the time of the attack.
‘It was amazing how brave [Chang] and the others were,’ he said. ‘This is just so sad. I never, ever thought something like that would happen in my church, in my community.’
Orange County officials praised the parishioners’ quick thinking that stopped the gunman from causing further harm.
‘That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,’ Orange County undersheriff Jeff Hallock said.
‘I think it’s safe to say that had people not intervened, it could have been much worse.’
The suspected gunman is an Asian man in his 60s whose name was not immediately released. Investigators are working to determine whether he has any connections to the church or its parishioners, and what his motive was.
The victims injured in the shooting include four Asian men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92 and one Asian woman, age 86. Four of the five victims were shot, according to officials.
The majority of those in attendance at the church are believed to be of Taiwanese descent, the sheriff’s office said.
The shooting came one day after an 18-year-old opened fire in an upstate New York supermarket, killing 10 people.
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