TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — One person was killed, four were critically injured, and another individual suffered minor injuries in a shooting involving Taiwanese churchgoers in southern California, according to multiple reports.
The incident took place at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods located in Orange County, which hosts the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church on Sundays. More than 80% of residents in the area are at least 65 or over, and it is a popular retirement destination for Taiwanese.
It was reported that a lunch reception was being held to honor a former pastor at the church when an Asian man in his 60s opened fire with two handguns. Parishioners among the congregation of about 30 to 40 people managed to apprehend the shooter and tie him up before police arrived.
The Orange County Register, a local newspaper, said the shooter was not from the area. It added one individual was killed in the church, while those hurt were rushed to hospital.
Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock was quoted as saying the parishioners showed “exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening … I think it’s safe to say if people had not intervened, it could have been much worse.”
Taiwan’s de-facto ambassador to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) took to Twitter to comment: “Shocked and saddened by the fatal shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in California. I join the families of the victims and Taiwanese American communities in grief and pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded survivors.”
Others spoke up to say what a “wonderful” and generous community these “Taiwanese church people” are, condemned the violence, or praised the bravery of the parishioners.
Shocked and saddened by the fatal shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in California. I join the families of the victims and Taiwanese American communities in grief and pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded survivors. 〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕— Bi-khim Hsiao 蕭美琴 (@bikhim) May 16, 2022
Those Taiwanese 〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕 who tackled the gunmen are heroes. They saved so many lives. RiP to the one who died and pray for those families. Taiwan community will always come together and not be scared by this hate. 〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕❤️〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕 Love to all— derwake (@derwake1) May 16, 2022
The Taiwanese church community is deeply connected. This one hits close to home as the pastor and wife of Irvine Presbyterian Church Laguna Woods are our family friends. So many Ama and Agongs were there. This was their community. I'm sick.— Rebecca Hong (@ItsRebeccaHong) May 16, 2022
Holy hell. This is where my kids go to school and where my wife teaches history, lit, and Latin.— Seth T. Hahne (@sethhahne) May 15, 2022
I just told my wife and she told me how wonderful these Taiwanese church people are. She apparently sees them every Monday morning when they use the chapel to sing together. pic.twitter.com/9UmNSap8Z6