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CrimeUnited States of America

US: One dead, five wounded in church shooting

May 16, 2022

One person has been killed and five wounded in Laguna Woods, Southern California, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said. The attack occurred at a church.

A police officer leads a canine at the scene of a shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church on May 15, 2022 in Laguna Woods
The shooting incident occurred in an area with a cluster of houses of worshipImage: Mario Tama/AFP

Multiple people were shot, including one fatally, at a church in Laguna Woods in Southern California, authorities said on Sunday. 

A suspect has been detained in connection with the shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, authorities said.

Police said that a group of parishioners detained the gunman and hog-tied his legs with an extension cord.

The churchgoers also confiscated at least two weapons from him. 

"That group of churchgoers displayed ... exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities," Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said at a news conference.

One person detained

Authorities said that the suspect is an Asian man believed to be in his 60s.

The motive behind the shooting was not immediately known.

Investigators don't believe the gunman lives in the community, Hallock said.

The majority of those inside the church at the time were believed to be of Taiwanese descent, Carrie Braun, a sheriff's spokesperson, told the media.

One person died at the scene.

The injured are currently receiving treatment at a hospital, police said, adding that their status is not yet known.

"Deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at a church," the Orange County Sheriff's Department had tweeted earlier. "Multiple victims have been shot," the sheriff's office said, before adding the incident occurred around 1.30 pm local time (20:30 GMT)

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the scene. The FBI was also sending agents to the scene to assist the sheriff.

Investigators were looking at many factors, including whether the bloodshed could be a hate crime and whether the gunman was known to the church community, said sheriff's spokesperson Braun.

Governor Gavin Newsom's office said on Twitter that he was closely monitoring the situation. "No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event," the governor posted.

Elderly community

Laguna Woods was built as a senior living community and later became a city. Over 80% of residents in the city of 18,000 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles are at least 65.

The shooting occurred in an area with a cluster of houses of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches as well as a Jewish synagogue.
It was the second mass shooting of the weekend in the United States after an 18-year-old man allegedly opened fire, killing 10 people and injuring three others, in a supermarket in Buffalo.

sri, lo/jsi (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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