Church shooting suspect from China, targeted Taiwanese group over political tensions: police

The suspect has an "an absolute bias against the Taiwanese people," officials say

Updated: May 16, 2022 - 7:44pm

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The suspect who allegedly killed one person and wounded five others in a California church was a Chinese immigrant who targeted the worshipers because they were Taiwanese, officials said.

The suspect is 68-year-old David Cho of Las Vegas. His wife is currently living in Taiwan, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes stated during a press conference.

"The suspect was able to secure the doors within the church with chains and tried to disable locks within the church with super glue," the sheriff said. The alleged gunman also placed four explosives around the church while socializing and mingling with the congregants, authorities said.

Five Asian Americans ranging from ages 66 to 92 were injured. Dr. John Cheng, 52, died attempting to disarm the shooter and likely saving the lives of "upwards of dozens of people," police explained.

"I believe this hatred of Taiwan manifested when he was residing there in previous years, possibly in his youth. He was not well received while living there, according to what we believe," Barnes noted.

"That's manifested into this hatred that's combined with the political environment of this hatred of the Taiwanese people between the China and Taiwan tensions that are currently occurring," he added.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory and has hinted at the possibility of an invasion.

"I will tell you that evil was in that church yesterday," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.

He accused the suspect of having "an absolute bias against the Taiwanese people... as a Chinese or mainland national."

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