One person was killed and five others were wounded — four of them critically — in a shooting Sunday at a church in Laguna Woods that was hosting a luncheon to honor a former pastor of a Taiwanese congregation.
The suspect was detained and a weapon was recovered, authorities said.
Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call of a shooting inside Geneva Presbyterian Church at 1:26 p.m., the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said. The church is located at 24301 El Toro Road.
A sixth person had minor injuries. The victims, all adults, were rushed to the hospital.
Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said the shooting occurred when about 30 or so people were inside the church at the time of the shooting.
The Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church conducts services at Geneva Presbyterian on Sundays starting at 10 a.m., according to the church’s website.
The Presbytery of Los Ranchos said in a statement that it is “deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that nests at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods … Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for the those traumatized by this shooting.”
Several dozen people could be seen waiting in a playground shaded by a blue awning adjacent to the church as they waited to be interviewed by officials.
El Toro Road was closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren. Residents standing on streets surrounding the church posted videos on social media of a sheriff’s helicopter landing near the church about an hour after the shooting.
Sandra Chou, who spoke to Sheriff’s deputies outside the church Sunday, said her 92-year-old father and 87-year-old mother were among those shot and wounded inside. The couple also lives in Laguna Woods and goes to church each Sunday.
Chou said a bullet grazed her mother’s shirt and hit her father’s legs. He was taken to the hospital and the mother was being interviewed by police.
A spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles said they are sending agents to Laguna Woods to assist Orange County officials at the shooting scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also assisting in the investigation, officials said.
Laguna Woods Village, a massive, private retirement community, makes up most of the city of Laguna Woods. The city and retirement community are frequented by local politicians.
A little over a week ago, several Democratic candidates for local office said they visited the city. Pete Hardin, an attorney running for Orange County District Attorney, said on Twitter that he appeared at a Laguna Woods town hall with current State Senator Dave Min and Dr. Asif Mahmood, who is running for the California 40th Congressional District, on May 8.
Current Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has a town hall to discuss hate crimes planned in Laguna Woods for May 19.
“This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo,” said Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, whose district includes Laguna Woods. “This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement Sunday said his office was monitoring the shooting.
“No one should have to fear going to their place of worship,” Newsom said in the statement. “Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event.”
This is a developing story.
Source: Orange County Register