Ninety-eight charges, including numerous federal hate crimes, have been brought against the shooter suspected of killing one person and injuring five others at a Taiwanese church in California last year.
The United States revealed the indictment on Thursday. According to the Department of Justice, David Chou of Las Vegas shot up the church in May 2022 because he had political animosity toward Taiwan.
When he attacked the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, the 69-year-old had four Molotov cocktail-like things, two handguns, bags of ammo, and bags of ammunition with him.
Before the attack, he allegedly spent an hour talking to churchgoers in an apparent effort to win their trust. He reportedly shut the exit doors with nails before opening fire.
The Justice Department reported that Chou is facing 45 counts in all of obstructing the free exercise of religion via force, “which resulted in one death, including attempts to kill 44 other people, and involved using a firearm and attempted use of explosives and fire.”
Chou was accused by Orange County prosecutors of murder and attempted murder for a hate crime last year, among other charges, but he entered a not-guilty plea.
He is detained in Orange County without bond and is scheduled to return to court on July 14.
According to the authorities, Chou is a U.S. citizen who was raised in Taiwan. According to reports, when communists took control of mainland China, his family was forced to leave.
Finally, Chou’s rampage inside the church ended when Dr. John Cheng, 52, charged at him and tackled him.
Despite being shot and dying, Dr. Cheng’s bravery allowed others to capture Chou and tie him up with extension cords while they waited for the authorities.
The ages of the other victims of the incident ranged from 66 to 92.
Chou might be sentenced to death or a maximum of life in prison if found guilty.