California church shooter charged with murder, aimed to ‘execute in cold blood’ as many people as possible

David Chou may be sentenced to death, or life without parole, for Sunday’s shooting at a California church (Pictures: Rex/AP)

The Las Vegas man accused of killing a man and wounding five other people in a hate-fueled targeted attack on a Taiwanese church in California has been charged with murder.

David Chou, 68, faces 10 counts, including: first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and four counts of possessing destructive devices with the intent to kill or harm, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said on Tuesday.

Chou’s goal for the Sunday attack at the church in Laguna Woods was to ‘execute in cold blood as many people in that room as possible,’ Spitzer said.

‘He had the ammunition to do it. He had the weaponry to do it. he had the training to do it,’ he added.

Spitzer said during a news conference that the charges Chou faces carry penalties that could include death, or life without the possibility of parole.

‘This is not a case that I’m ruling out for death,’ he said.

According to officials, what makes this attack particularly heinous was the gunman’s efforts to conceal himself before launching the horrific and violent attack.

‘He did everything he could to fit in, to make himself one of them,’ Spitzer said.

Officials say that Chou traveled to southern California on Saturday, a day before the attack, and scoped out the church ahead of time.

Chou reportedly used glue using glue to disable locks on doors in the building and secured some doors shut with chains. He donned a shirt reading ‘security,’ a job he was licensed to do in the state of Nevada, that may have led parishioners to believe he was safeguarding the house of worship.

The FBI is investigating the shooting as a federal hate crime, which could lead to additional charges.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday that Chou, a US citizen originally from China, was ‘upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan.’ He said Chou’s hatred toward Taiwan was documented in handwritten notes discovered by investigators.

According to officials, Chou’s family was one of many forcibly removed from mainland China to Taiwan sometime after 1948.

The majority of those in attendance at the church are believed to be of Taiwanese descent. Many of the congregants are also elderly.

About 40 people were in attendance at the church on Sunday. No connection has been established between Chou and the church or any of its members.

Congregants at the Presbyterian Church were celebrating the return of a pastor from a mission trip to Taiwan.

In his alleged attack , Chou fatally shot Dr John Cheng, a well-respected sports medicine doctor who tackled the gunman and attempted to disarm him. Five other people were injured by gunfire in the shooting, including an 86-year-old Asian woman and four Asian men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92.

Four of the victims suffered critical injuries, while two were reportedly in good condition on Monday.

A judge order Chou to be held without bail on Tuesday. He will be arraigned on June 10.


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