Suspect charged in deadly California church shooting
Prosecutors have charged the suspect in the California church shooting with one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer also announced Tuesday that David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas faces an enhancement for “lying in wait,” as well as four counts of possessing destructive devices with intent to kill or harm. Arraignment is expected later Tuesday.
“We typically think of the person who hides in the bushes,” Spitzer said. “This case is about the person concealing themselves in plain view.”
Authorities have said Chou — a U.S. citizen whom authorities say grew up in Taiwan — was motivated by hatred of Taiwanese people.
“While there’s very strong evidence right now that this was motivated by hate, we want to make sure we have put together all the evidence that confirms that theory in the case,” Spitzer said, when asked whether he would be filing charge of a hate crime.
Chou is accused of opening fire during a Sunday luncheon for members of Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, which worships at Geneva Presbyterian Church in the community of Laguna Woods. A doctor who heroically charged the gunman was killed and five other people were wounded.
Chou drove to Orange County on Saturday and the next day attended the lunch. Though he knew no one there, he spent about an hour mingling with about 40 attendees and then executed his plot, authorities said at a news conference.
Investigators are trying to determine if the church was a random target, Spitzer said.
“That population in general created a vulnerable environment for him to carry out what I think was his ultimate goal, which was to execute in cold blood as many people in that room as possible,” he said.
Investigators found that the attacker had chained doors closed and brought bags containing firebombs and extra ammunition.
Taiwanese media say Chou had ties to an organization opposed to Taiwan’s independence from China.