A Las Vegas man who the authorities say opened fire on a Taiwanese congregation at a Southern California church on Sunday — killing one person and injuring five others before the pastor and congregants overpowered and hogtied him — was motivated by hatred, the Orange County sheriff said on Monday.
The suspect, David Chou, 68, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from China, was charged with murder and five felony counts of attempted murder for what Don Barnes, the sheriff, described at a news conference on Monday as a “politically motivated hate incident” prompted by grievances against the Taiwanese community.
The shooting occurred at about 1:26 p.m. local time on Sunday inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif., about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles in a diverse community largely made up of retirees. It has a well-established Asian population.
Most of the victims were of Taiwanese descent and ranged in age from 66 to 92, Sheriff Barnes said. Four of the victims were critically wounded, but their conditions improved on Monday, the authorities said. The F.B.I. said it had opened a federal hate-crime investigation on Monday.
sending military jets to buzz the island on a near-daily basis last fall.
said on Twitter that it was helping with the investigation.
In a series of text messages on Sunday, the Rev. Albany Lee, who presides over the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, which is housed on the campus of the Geneva Presbyterian Church, said that congregants told him that the gunman “was a new face.”
“No one recognizes the shooter,” Mr. Lee said, adding that when a receptionist asked the gunman who he was, “he said he was here before.”
Mr. Lee said that the person who subdued the gunman was a pastor who led the services on Sunday.
That pastor, who was not injured, had “subdued the shooter before he loaded another round of bullets,” he said. “Thank God,” he added.