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Hate against Taiwan led to California church attack

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Hate against Taiwan led to church attack

A gunman in a deadly attack at a Southern California church was a Chinese immigrant motivated by hate for Taiwanese people, authorities said.

The shooter killed John Cheng, 52, and wounded five others during a lunch held by Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, which worships at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, authorities said at a Monday news conference.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said the motive of the shooting was a grievance between the shooter, identified as a Chinese immigrant and U.S. citizen, and the Taiwanese community. China claims Taiwan is a part of its national territory and has not ruled out force to bring the island under its rule.

The suspect was identified as David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas. He was booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder and is being held on $1 million bail.

Chou is expected to appear in state court Tuesday. A federal hate crimes investigation is also ongoing.

Chou’s family was among many who were apparently forcibly removed from China to Taiwan sometime after 1948, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. Chou’s hatred toward the island, documented in handwritten notes that authorities found, seems like it began when he felt he wasn’t treated well while living there.

Barnes, the sheriff, said Chou drove from Las Vegas to the Orange County church, secured the doors with chains, super glue and nails, and started shooting. He had also placed four molotov cocktail-like devices inside the church.

Barnes said Cheng, a sports medicine doctor, heroically charged at the shooter and attempted to disarm him. Cheng probably saved the lives “of upwards of dozens of people,” the sheriff said.

A pastor hit the gunman on the head with a chair and parishioners hogtied him with electrical cords. But Cheng was hit by gunfire.

Those wounded included four men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92, and an 86-year-old woman, the sheriff’s department said.

— Associated Press

Tunnel found linking Tijuana, San Diego

U.S. authorities on Monday announced the discovery of an underground smuggling tunnel on Mexico’s border, running the length of a football field on U.S. soil to a warehouse in an industrial area.

The cross-border tunnel from Tijuana to the San Diego area was built in one of the most fortified stretches of the border.

Authorities have found about 15 sophisticated tunnels on California’s border with Mexico since 2006, with hallmarks including lighting, ventilation, railway tracks and hydraulic lifts.

Many tunnels, including the one announced Monday, are in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial area, where clay-like soil is conducive to digging and warehouses provide cover.

The cross-border passages date to the early 1990s and have been used primarily to smuggle multi-ton loads of marijuana.

By federal law, U.S. authorities must fill the U.S. side of tunnels with concrete after they are discovered.

— Associated Press

Man convicted in killing of state trooper

A jury on Monday convicted a man of first-degree murder in the shooting death of an Iowa State Patrol trooper last year.

Michael Lang, 42, was also found guilty of attempted murder and assaulting a police officer for his actions on April 9, 2021, that killed 51-year-old patrol Sgt. Jim Smith in Grundy Center, a city of nearly 3,000 people about 60 miles northeast of Des Moines.

Smith, a 27-year patrol veteran, was shot as he led a team of officers into Lang’s home, where Lang had barricaded himself after he assaulted another officer during a traffic stop that day, police said.

Lang was also shot by officers but has recovered.

— Associated Press