A Las Vegas man charged with killing a doctor and murdering five others at a Southern California church luncheon over his hatred of Taiwan pleaded not guilty Friday.
David Chou, 68, was charged with amplifying a hate crime murder after he opened fire on a Taiwanese congregation meeting at a church in Laguna Woods, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, in May.
dr. John Cheng, 52, was killed trying to stop Chou, whose actions were prompted by “political tensions between China and Taiwan.” Five others were injured but survived their injuries.
Chou appeared in court on August 19 behind a metallic cage that separated him from others. The 68-year-old was wearing glasses, a face mask and a yellow jumpsuit. He wore headphones and spoke with the help of a Mandarin interpreter.
The shooter struggled to understand what the judge was telling him – what he was telling the interpreter.
He has been ordered by Orange County Supreme Court Justice Cynthia M. Herrera to be held without bail at Theo Lacy Prison and will appear in court again on October 21 for a hearing.
David Chou, 68, pleaded not guilty Friday to the killing of Dr. John Cheng, 52, and injuring five others during lunch after a Taiwanese service in Laguna Hills, California in May
Chou, who is from Las Vegas, appeared in court on August 19 behind a metal cage on August 19. Wearing headphones, a Mandarin interpreter translated his words in front of the judge
Chou first appeared in court after being motivated to commit the mass shooting by hatred of Taiwan
Defense attorney Tania Vallego appeared in court with Chou, who will face a murder charge
John Cheng was shot dead in a shooting at a church in California on Sunday. Cheng tried to stop the shooter when he was beaten
The shooting took place in the small town of Laguna Woods, about 55 miles south of Los Angeles
The Taiwanese congregation gathered at the Geneva Presbyterian Church for a Sunday service
County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has said that Chou was motivated by hatred of Taiwan, where he was born after his family was expelled from mainland China when communists prevailed in a civil war that ended in 1949.
He apparently picked the church at random on May 15 and knew no one there before driving from Las Vegas to California on Saturday, authorities said.
Authorities have said Chou attended a church service before attending lunch in honor of a former pastor, where he mined among parishioners for about 40 minutes before chaining and nailing the exit doors and opening fire.
As gunshots erupted, Dr. John Cheng, 52, attacked Chou and was shot, but authorities said he disrupted the attack and may have saved dozens of lives.
The former pastor, Billy Chang, then grabbed a chair and threw it at Chou, who fell to the floor. Chang said he ran to Chou and several members of the congregation held Chou and tied him up.
Chou was armed with two legally purchased 9mm handguns and hidden bags of ammunition and four Molotov cocktail-style devices in the church hall where the lunch was held, authorities said.
According to authorities, Chou apparently chose the church at random on May 15 and did not know anyone there before driving from Las Vegas to California the day before.
Orange County Superior Court judge Cynthia M. Herrera ordered Chou to be held without bail
Churchgoers are seen as police investigate after a shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on May 15
Before the shooting, Chou spent $16.10 sending seven thick photocopied volumes of handwritten Chinese text and a flash drive to the World Journal office in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park, according to photos published in the Chinese-language newspaper.
The pages were titled “Diary of an Angel Destroying Independence,” a clear reference to Taiwan’s self-government. The Chinese Communist Party continues to demand Taiwan to reunite with China.
The diary pages were received a day after Chou reportedly opened fire at a luncheon gathering of elderly parishioners at Irvine Taiwan Presbyterian Church in the Laguna Woods community.
The newspaper made no mention of the contents of the diaries and no one there apparently read them through before they were sent to the police through the newspaper’s lawyer, said an employee who declined to be named because they were not authorized to openly disclose. to speak.