Laguna Woods Church Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 5 Hurt

May 15, 2022 2:14 pm

Source: https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/multiple-people-hit-in-shooting-at-laguna-woods-church-suspected-shooter-in-custody/2893860/

A group of churchgoers in Orange County stopped a mass shooter after he opened fire on a luncheon, hog-tying him with an extension cord until authorities could arrive at the Laguna Woods church.

One person was dead while at least five people were hurt, four critically and one with minor injuries, after a shooting at a church in the Laguna Woods area of Orange County, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“Four victims have been critically wounded, one with minor injuries,” the OCSD said on Twitter. “All victims are adults and are en route to the hospital. One victim is deceased at the scene.”

The five victims who were taken to a local hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds were 66, 75, 82, 86 and 92 years old, according to the OC Sheriff’s Department.

One woman arrived at the scene of the shooting to get information on her 92-year-old father and her mother, she told NBCLA. She said authorities confirmed to her that her father was taken to the hospital after his stomach was grazed by a bullet, but she has not yet heard anything about her mother.

Two of the victims were taken to Providence Mission Hospital, the medical center confirmed in a statement.

“On Sunday May 15, shortly after 2 p.m. PST, two individuals suffering from trauma associated with gun shots were admitted to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif.,” the statement read.

“The hospital is not currently releasing the condition of the individuals, and given the ongoing investigation is referring all questions related to the incident to Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The Trauma Center at Providence Mission Hospital is South Orange County’s only Level II trauma facility, and our patients are in receipt of the highest quality care.”

Another victim was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center, and two more were transported to Orange County Global Medical Center, including the 92-year-old man.

The shooting occurred at approximately 1:26 p.m. at Geneva Presbyterian Church, located at 24301 El Toro Road.

The suspected shooter was in police custody after churchgoers stopped him and hog-tied his legs with an extension cord before helping the injured congregants, the OCSD said.

“They undoubtedly prevented further injuries and fatalities,” authorities said.

They have not yet been identified, but police sources told NBC News that the man who opened fire at the church function is in his 60s.

The sources also say he is of Asian descent and they are investigating whether he targeted congregants of Asian descent. They stressed that the investigation is in its earliest preliminary stages.

They have not yet determined a motive. It does not appear that there are any other suspects, the sources said.

A gun that may have been used in the shooting has been recovered, the OCSD said right after the shooting occurred. Police sources told NBC News that at least one handgun was recovered at the scene.

At a 5 p.m. press conference about the shooting, authorities said two total guns were recovered from the scene. The guns had serial numbers, and are not ghost guns.

Thirty to 40 witnesses will need to be interviewed, including people who were inside the church at the time, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities said it was not not clear whether the shooter is a member of the congregation, and they were working to determine his city of residence.

According to members of the church at the scene after the shooting, the gathering was for a former pastor at the Geneva Presbyterian Church.

The Presbytery of Los Ranchos put out a statement confirming the lunch.

“The Presbytery of Los Ranchos is deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that nests at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods,” the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, an Anaheim church, said in a statement to NBC4.

“Initial reports indicate that one person was killed, and several others were severely injured. Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for the those traumatized by this shooting. In your mercy, O Lord, we pray.”

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also responding to the scene, according to the Associated Press.

El Toro Road was closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren.

Laguna Woods is a city in Orange County bordered by Laguna Hills and Lake Forest. It is located about 10 miles from University of California Irvine.

The church is located in a busy area of the neighborhood, with a shopping center catty-corner to the church across the street. A number of homes are also nearby.

Days before, a destructive 200-acre blaze called the Coastal Fire destroyed 20 homes in the nearby community of Laguna Niguel. It was 60% contained as of Sunday.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, whose district includes Laguna Woods, put out a statement on Twitter shortly after the shooting occurred.

“A shooting at a church in Laguna Woods has left multiple people injured,” Porter said. “This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo. This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families.”

The shooting occurred just one day after an 18-year-old gunman allegedly opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and killed 10 people.

The office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom also tweeted out a statement in response to the shooting.

“We are actively monitoring the shooting at a church in Laguna Woods and working closely with local law enforcement,” the statement read. “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.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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