According to NBC Los Angeles, a deadly shooting occurred at the Geneva Presbyterian Church located at 24301 El Toro Rd, Laguna Woods, CA 92637.
Police received a call about the shooting at 1.26 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The shooting suspect, 68-year-old David Chou, entered the church during a luncheon commemorating a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that worships at the Laguna Woods church. Witnesses said Chou locked the doors and began firing at the gathering that included as many as 40 parishioners that day. After shooting six victims, the pastor threw a chair at the suspect, causing him to drop his gun. Other parishioners are credited with tackling the suspect to the ground, tying him up with an extension cord, and holding him until law enforcement arrived.
Of the victims, one died at the scene, and the others were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. The victims varied in age from 66 to 92 years old. Four are in critical condition, and one only suffered minor injuries.
Chou, identified as a Chinese immigrant, is said to have had a grievance with the Taiwanese community based on the current political tensions between China and Taiwan. The mass shooting is being deemed a hate crime, and Chou is facing one count of murder with the use of a gun, special circumstances of "lying in wait," five counts of attempted murder, and four counts of unlawful possession of explosives.
Attorney contributor Bobby Thompson is an experienced gun crime lawyer in the state of California. He often represents victims of gun violence, including church shootings. Recently he discussed some important information for families and victims of church shootings, including their right to seek compensation.
"Victims and their families often suffer for a long time as a result of fatal violent incidents, including church shootings. Identifying the perpetrator of the crime can allow the victim to receive some justice. However, in many cases, a third party can also be held responsible for injuries related to the incident. By filing a civil suit, victims or their surviving family members may be able to recover compensation to aid with medical expenses and more."
"Churches, like other property owners, have a legal obligation to provide protection to their congregation and visitors while on church property. Security cameras, adequate parking lot lighting, hired security guards, and other forms of security are a few of these measures. If a church failed to offer such safety measures, it could be held liable. Additionally, if the crime or violence in the area had been increasing, the church security would also need to be increased to reduce the risk of dangers. Victims and their families should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if they have grounds to file a lawsuit."