Prosecutors accuse a Las Vegas man, who was accused of committing hate crime in killing one person and injuring five at a California mass shooting at a Taiwanese American luncheon.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Friday, hate crime allegations were added to murder and attempted killing charges against David Wenwei Chou (68).
“Prosecutors filed an amended complaint this week to add a special circumstance that Chou intentionally killed his victim because of his race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, and five enhancements of a hate crime for each of the five counts of attempted murder,”The Orange County District Attorney’s Office released a statement.
Authorities claim that Chou set fire to a May lunch gathering of Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church members in Laguna Woods. The event saw the death of a 52 year-old doctor who brought his mother, who was also 52 years old.
According to the sheriff’s office, Dr. John Cheng was charged and attempted to disarm the gunman. However, other people were able to intervene. He was finally tied to a chair until officers arrived.
On Sunday, a man was accused of shooting six people at a Laguna Woods church. One victim died and five were injured. Alex Rozier reported for NBC4 News Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Chou was armed to the teeth with two 9 mm pistols and several backpacks. These included extra magazines and four Molotov cocktails type devices. Chou is accused in the attack of closing the banquet hall doors.
Authorities believe Chou was motivated in hatred of Taiwan. He was born and raised there after his family fled mainland China during the Communists’ takeover. China claims Taiwan is part of its national territory. However, it has not ruled in force to bring Taiwan under its jurisdiction.
Chou was known by many who knew Chou. They said the suspect shooter’s life had been unraveling for months before the shooting at the church. NBC4 was told by a neighbor and friends that many aspects of Chou’s life were falling apart.
Chou is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 19. At his first court appearance, Chou didn’t enter a plea.
Friday messages were sent to Chou’s public defenders, as listed in the online court records.