Multiple people have been shot, with one killed, at Geneva Presbyterian Church on the 24000 block of El Toro Road in Laguna Woods on Sunday, according to the Orange County Sheriffs’ Department.
OC Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said people in the church wrestled down the shooter, an Asian man in his 60s who was armed with two handguns, and tied him up with extension cords before OC Sheriff deputies got there.
“We believe a group of churchgoers detained him and hogtied his legs with an extension cord and confiscated at least two weapons from him. He was detained when the deputies arrived. That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,” Hallock said at a 5 p.m. news conference.
Hallock said deputies got a call at 1:26 p.m.
“Deputies were here within minutes and by the time we arrived, parishioners had the subject hogtied and in custody,” Hallock said at a 5 p.m. news conference. “One or more of the congregates acted quite heroically and jumped in.”
He said the shooter is an Asian man in his 60s but didn’t provide any more information. A subsequent news release said the shooter’s name would be released after he was booked into the Orange County Jail.
Investigators don’t believe he lived in the area and are still working to figure out where he lives and what his connection to the church was.
Officials said five people were injured, with four in critical condition. A news release from the sheriffs department released Sunday evening put all the victims b3tween 66 and 92 years old.
The church holds a 10 a.m. service on Sundays for the Taiwanese community, according to its website.
“There was a large number of Taiwanese people inside of the church, but as far as the type of church service or if they were having service, I don’t have those details,” Hallock told reporters before the 5 p.m. news conference.
At the 5 p.m. news conference, Hallock said there was a banquet when the shooting happened.
“I know it was some type of banquet after the service,” he said.
Federal officials from the FBI and ATF are investigating the shooter’s motive and firearms used.
“At this time, we’re working very hard to determine the motive,” said Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI bureau in Los Angeles, which also oversees Orange County.
At the 5 p.m. news conference, Johnson said the people who apprehended the shooter “were very brave in their actions.”
Hallock said the shooter could face either state or federal charges, depending on his motive.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporter and Report for America corps member, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.
And since you’ve made it this far,
You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.