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Church Shooting Suspect Charged With Murder, Attempted Murder

The alleged gunman is facing one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after a shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church.
Posted at 8:46 PM, May 17, 2022

The alleged gunman in a California church shooting over the weekend has now been charged. 

He's facing one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. 

"The decedent, Dr. Cheng, and the others who were shot and all the other congregants engaged in the most heroic activity one could ever imagine," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. 

Now, Newsy is learning more about what happened inside the church after Sunday services. 

Prosecutors say the shooter mingled with parishioners for about an hour before chaining the door shut and putting super glue in the keyholes. The plan was — they said – to "execute" as many people as he could. 

As the Taiwanese president condemns the shooting, authorities say the gunman was motivated by a hatred for Taiwanese people. 

Dr. John Cheng is being called a hero for charging at the gunman and allowing others to intervene. 

Cheng was the one victim who died in the shooting. 

"It is known that Dr. Cheng charged the individual — the suspect — [and] attempted to disarm him, which allowed other parishioners to then intercede, taking the suspect into custody," Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said. "Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, it is no doubt that there would have been numerous additional victims in this crime." 

Peggy Huang is a councilwoman in nearby Yorba Linda with ties to the church. She said after the gunman shot Cheng, the visiting pastor then had time to fight back. 

"He was reloading his gun, and that was an opportunity for the pastor to hit him with a chair, and everybody else tackled him," Huang said. 

The others injured were between the ages of 66 and 92. They're expected to be OK as prosecutors line up a slew of charges that could land the gunman in prison for the rest of his life, or bring a death sentence.