CALIFORNIA—On Monday, May 16, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced the victim fatally shot at the Geneva Presbyterian Church has been identified as Dr. John Cheng. Cheng, 52, was killed while attempting to disarm the shooter. He was a primary care physician at South Coast Medical Group. He leaves behind his wife and two children.
The suspect has been identified as David Chou, 68. He is from Las Vegas, Nevada. Chou was booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder. Approximately 40 parishioners were present for the church service and luncheon at the time of the incident honoring former Pastor Billy Chang who had been in Taiwan.
The first attempt to subdue Chou was by made by Chang. He hit the suspect in the head with a chair, and parishioners subdued him by hogtying him with an extension cord. There were six victims in all; the other five were transported to local hospital for treatment. All the victims were from the Taiwanese community; four men and one woman who were all over the age of 65.
“Dr. Cheng was a loving family man, dedicated doctor and a beloved member of our community, and we send our deepest condolences to all who knew him,” said Don Barnes, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner. “There is no doubt that Dr. Cheng’s actions that day saved the lives of many other church members. He is a hero and will be remembered by this community as such,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes.
“It appears this tragic incident was fueled by politically motivated hate, and that is something we do not tolerate,” Barnes said. “Orange County is a community that celebrates diversity and takes pride in being a place people feel safe to worship, work and live. While someone from outside our community has attempted to diminish these ideals through an act of violence, we remain united in our commitment to tolerance and acceptance.”
“TO OUR LOVING COMMUNITY. We are profoundly humbled and grateful for the support we’ve received since the tragic events of yesterday, but as you may guess our hands are full assisting our faith community and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in navigating this tragedy. For this reason, we ask and appreciate news organizations to visit the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website at the link below for all the latest news releases and updates. Also, at this time our campus is closed to all visitors. Thank you for your patience and understanding and continued prayers,” reads a statement from the Geneva Presbyterian Church on its website.