Suspect in Taiwanese church shooting indicted on federal hate crime charges

The suspected shooter in one Shooting in a Taiwanese church In California last year, which killed one man and injured five others, nearly 100 federal indictments, including hate crimes, are now pending.

David Chou, 69, of Las Vegas, was arrested after the May 15, 2022 mass shooting at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods, California Lunch honoring a pastor returning from Taiwan. Investigators said at the time that Chou was a Chinese-American citizen allegedly motivated by the political tensions between China and Taiwan.

PHOTO: A person with flowers stands at a makeshift memorial for Dr. John Cheng in front of his office in Aliso Viejo, California.

A person with flowers stands at a makeshift memorial for Dr. John Cheng in front of his office in Aliso Viejo, California.

Mario Tama/Getty Images, FILE

federal prosecutors announced on Thursday that Chou was charged with 98 counts of hate crimes, weapons and explosives offenses.

A federal grand jury in Santa Ana indicted Chou on 45 counts of violently obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, resulting in the death of one person, including attempts to kill 44 others, and on 45 counts of violating the laws of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act “through attacks on church members because of their actual or perceived Taiwanese nationality and their Presbyterian faith,” prosecutors said.

He was also charged with six counts of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, one count of carrying explosives while committing a federal crime, and one count of attempting to damage or destroy a building used for interstate commerce , accused of fire and explosives.

PHOTO: Suspect shoots at Laguna Woods church David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, is seen in this police booking photo released by the Orange County Sheriff's Department on May 16, 2022.

In this police booking photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on May 16, 2022, the suspect is seen at the Laguna Woods church shooting dead David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department via Reuters

If convicted on the federal charges, Chou faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty, prosecutors said. The online court records do not currently contain attorney information about him.

Chou is already in state custody fees including murder with an adjunct to a hate crime and five counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting. He pleaded not guilty to the state’s indictments last year.

Chou allegedly tried to superglue the doors to keep victims from escaping and planted ammunition and Molotov cocktails around the Geneva Presbyterian Church, authorities said. dr John Cheng, 52, was killed trying to disarm the gunman during the attack and five others were wounded by gunfire. A group of churchgoers managed to arrest the gunman and tie his legs with an extension cord, authorities said.

Chou is Chinese but an American citizen, officials said. Authorities said at the time they believe Chou’s anger began while he was living in Taiwan, where he felt like an outsider and his anti-Taiwan views were not accepted. His views became more radical as tensions between China and Taiwan escalated.

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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