Orange County church shooting being deemed a politically motivated hate crime.
A suspect in a shooting that killed one person and injured five at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods appeared to be motivated by political hatred of Taiwan, officials said Monday. David Wenwei Chou left notes in Chinese in his car stating he did not believe Taiwan should be independent from China before barring the church doors and firing on the patrons within, said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “We believe, based on what we’ve discovered so far, that he specifically targeted the Taiwanese community, and this is one representation of that Taiwanese community,” Barnes said. The FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the shooting, which happened Sunday this past weekend at around 1:30 p.m.
Many of the 100 or so members of Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church are elderly Taiwanese immigrants. Witnesses inside the church said that Chou spoke to them in Taiwanese before opening fire with a handgun at a luncheon to honor a former longtime pastor. The church’s services are conducted not in Mandarin but in Taiwanese, a dialect that was at one point suppressed by the Kuomintang government. As of Monday afternoon, two were hospitalized in good condition, with two others in stable condition, according to the Orange County Fire Authority - those injured in the shooting ranged in age from 66 to 92. The status of the fifth victim was not available.