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LINK Man accused in deadly shooting at Taiwanese church in California is indicted on 98 charges -- NBC News

Investigators said the gunman in the shooting last year was motivated by political hatred of Taiwan.

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A man accused of fatally shooting one person and wounding five others at a Southern California church luncheon last year has been charged with dozens of federal hate crimes in connection with the attack, which investigators said was motivated by political hatred of Taiwan.

The indictment announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice charges David Chou, of Las Vegas, with 98 counts including weapons and explosives charges and forcefully obstructing the free exercise of religion.

Messages seeking comment from attorneys who have represented Chou, 69, in a separate case in state court were not immediately returned.

Authorities said Chou chained and nailed shut exit doors before launching the attack on a gathering of older parishioners from the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on May 15, 2022.

Chou had two handguns, bags of ammunition and four Molotov cocktail-style devices, and was motivated by hatred of Taiwan, where he grew up, investigators said.

Among the charges were 45 counts of obstructing free exercise of religious beliefs by force, “which resulted in the death of one person, included attempts to kill 44 others, and involved the use of a firearm and attempted use of explosives and fire,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Chou was charged last year by Orange County prosecutors with murder and attempted murder including enhancements for a hate crime and other counts. He pleaded not guilty. Online records show Chou is currently bein held without bail in Orange County and due back in court July 14.

Authorities said Chou had no prior connection to the church. They said he spent an hour with attendees before the attack, apparently to gain their trust, then closed the doors and started shooting.

Dr. John Cheng, the 52-year-old son of a congregant, charged at Chou and was killed, authorities say. His action helped disrupt the shooter, who was hit by a chair thrown by the church’s former pastor and jumped on by several people who tied him up with an extension cord until police arrived.

The wounded victims ranged in age from 66 to 92.

Chou, a U.S. citizen, grew up in Taiwan after his family was forced from mainland China when communists took control, authorities have said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of death or life in prison without parole.

snytiger6 9 May 12

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Doesn't seem like one could call an attack by a member of the same nationality as a hate crime but the article doesn't go deep enough into Chou's motives. Seems more of a political act but equally as consequential.


As a freshman in high school I was bullied by a senior, and would have been much worse off if not for the protection of another senior, an exchange student from Taiwan. I will always have a warm spot in my heart for the Taiwanese people.

I had a Taiwanese student who was outraged when Brittain turned over Hong Kong to China.

@Beowulfsfriend The recent Chinese takeover of Hong Kong was regrettable but not at all unexpected. I hope China does not act so precipitously with respect to Taiwan.

@Flyingsaucesir Up until just recently, I expected China to keep at Taiwan with promising 1 country 2 governments. However, since Xi was elevated to Mao status and can remain premier for life, I'm not too sure. The Chinese pride themselves with accomplishments from their lives for history. Xi may decide a few hundred thousand deaths is worth unification.

@Beowulfsfriend I agree, Xi is a wild card.

@Beowulfsfriend When I visited Hong Kong in 1979, I learned that the area was leased by the U.K., and the lease would simply end, and the land reverted back to China.

I am no expert on international law, but it does seem to me that the agreement was originally made with the Ching Dynasty rulers, which were deposed by a democratic revolution, which in turn was deposed by a communist revolution. One could argue that the original agreement was made with a government that no longer existed, and they should have just kept the colony. However, agreements were made with the new government to honor the terms of the original lease.

I found it interesting that while I was there they were constructing a subway system, which they would only have use for only about 15 years before they had to leave. Kind of a nice parting gift to the Chinese...

@snytiger6 The things we do for love. Eh? I'm in full agreement with @Beowulfsfriend assessment but his beef with the original HK agreement should have been made by U.K..

@snytiger6 I was there in 79. I know they had a lease, I was just saying my Taiwanese student thought Taiwan should have gotten it.

@Beowulfsfriend Well, now that I think about it, the Democratic government of China fled to Taiwan, so in a sense they would have been closer to the government that made the original agreement. However, I doubt the Chinese government would have kept the stalemate between China and Taiwan in tact if Hong Kong went to Taiwan. As it is, things are pretty shaky and we all (we as in world governments) have to pretend that Taiwan in a part of China even though they have a separate government, currency and economy. To me they are individual countries.

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