THE California Church shooting suspect allegedly had four Molotov cocktail-like devices in his possession when he was taken into police custody.
David Chou, 68, drove to Orange County from Las Vegas on Saturday before attending a lunch at the Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday, police say.
The Chinese-born suspect allegedly changed the doors of the Laguna Woods church shut and hid firebombs on the property before opening fire into the crowd.
Chou was reportedly motivated by the Taiwan-China conflict.
About 40 people were inside the church, attending a lunch held by the Irvine Presbyterian Church which holds service at the Geneva Presbyterian Church every Sunday.
According to police, Chou had two 9mm handguns and two bags – one containing four Molotov cocktail-like devices and the other with more ammunition.
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During the rampage, Dr. John Cheng, 52, tackled Chou in an attempt to stop him. Other parishioners were able to subdue the gunman and hogtie him with extension cords.
Cheng’s ultimately died and five others were wounded. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes called Cheng’s actions “a meeting of good versus evil” and that he likely saved the lives “of upwards of dozens of people.”
Chou was charged with suspicion of murder and attempted murder. He is currently being held on $1million bail and is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
A federal hate crimes investigation is currently ongoing.
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According to Barnes, Chou acted alone and didn’t regularly attend church.
“He is not believed to be associated with any specific church or any religion, and there’s no direct connection to the church or any member of the church that we’re aware of,” said Barnes.
It is believed that Chou’s motives stemmed from hostility between Chou, a US citizen born in China, and the Taiwanese community.
According to Balmore Orellana, a former neighbor who spoke to the Associated Press, Chou was a pleasant person until he and his wife had separated.
The man had owned his Las Vegas apartment building until February of this year with records showing the property was sold last October for a little over $500,000.
Orellana said that Chou’s wife had used the money to move to Taiwan.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said that some of Chou’s family members had been among many who were forcibly removed from China to Taiwan after 1948.
Law enforcement also found hand-written notes documenting Chou’s hatred toward the island.
“I will tell you that evil was in that church,” said Spitzer of Chou, adding that the man had “an absolute bias” against Taiwanese people.
“I join the families of the victims and Taiwanese American communities in grief and pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded survivors,” wrote Taiwan’s chief representative in the US, Bi-khim Hsiao.