California church shooting suspect called ‘too radical’ for Chinese communist group

The suspect in the mass shooting at a Taiwanese religious gathering in Laguna Woods on Sunday that killed one person and injured five others was involved with a pro-China organization where a member described him as “too much ​radical” for the group, according to the media.

The Taipei Times in a Tuesday article said David Wenwei Chou, 68, who faces one count of capital murder and five counts of attempted murder, apparently belonged to the Las Vegas Chinese for Peaceful Unification, a semi- Chinese official. Communist Party.

According to an April 3, 2019 article published by the Las Vegas Chinese News Network, Chou attended the group’s founding ceremony and was a strong supporter of former Kaohsiung, Taiwan mayor Han Kuo-yu’s presidential bid. .

The newspaper said a photo accompanying the article shows Chou, also known as Zhou Wenwei, displaying a banner at the meeting calling for “the annihilation of separatist demons”, written in Chinese.

Gu Yawen, president of the Las Vegas China Peaceful Reunification Promotion organization, told Taiwan’s Central News Agency that Chou was “not invited” and that she felt her beliefs were too extreme, so she s is kept away from him.

After mid-2019, Chou did not participate in any of the council’s activities and was no longer a member of the organization, the Central News Agency reported.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which said the attack on members of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods was prompted by Chou’s grudge against Taiwan, declined to say whether the suspect was from pro-China organizations.

Any involvement of the suspect in any organization will be part of the investigation,” said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun. “We are not disclosing which organizations, if any, may be involved at this time.”

Chou, who sometimes called himself a “professor”, taught in the Department of Applied Life Sciences at Pingtung University of Science and Technology, but after his one-year contract expired, he was not renewed, the Central News Agency reported.

Chou was born in Taiwan in 1953 and resided there before immigrating to the United States, Louis Huang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, told Taiwan news organizations.

After entering the United States, Chou lived in many states, including Florida and Texas, before settling in Las Vegas, where he worked for various security companies and owned a four-plex outside the city. Strip.

Chou told the Las Vegas Chinese News Network in a 2012 interview that he came to Las Vegas to invest in 12 apartments and ended up managing eight of them behind the city’s convention and exhibition center.

He said that in April 2012, two tenants lured him into an apartment under a ruse that was going to pay rent, then attacked him, kicking him in the face and hitting him in the head with an iron. reported the chain.

He told the news agency that he stabbed one of the attackers with a pair of scissors before losing consciousness. The attack left Chou with more than 30 stitches in his face, a broken elbow and partial deafness in one ear, according to the network’s report.

Separately, Chou’s Las Vegas roommate told The Associated Press on Tuesday that there were no warning signs of the attack to come.

Roommate Jordin Davis said Chou seemed like a nice, calm person.

“At this point, and everything that’s happened, I’m just starting to wonder, ‘Have you, David, used your kindness and generosity to hide some really dark secrets?'” Davis asked.

Chou moved into a four-bedroom house in Las Vegas in February. Davis said Chou often shared her food, usually chicken dishes, and followed a leisurely routine: “go home, go to sleep, shower, go to work, and repeat.”

Chou never spoke about religion but identified as a Christian and made a black duct tape cross on the roof of his car, Davis told the AP.

The two had few conversations beyond small talk or talk about Davis’ dog, Zeus, Davis said.

Chou has spoken about Taiwan only once, in a conversation less than two weeks ago, Davis said. Chou said he felt the Taiwanese government was corrupt and did not like the islanders’ sympathy for the rulers.

“He posed as a political refugee,” Davis said.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Chou drove more than 272 miles from Las Vegas to Laguna Woods on Saturday.

The following day, he went to the Presbyterian Church in Geneva and opened fire on a group of elderly members of the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, who were hosting a lunch for their former pastor.

Laguna Niguel family medicine and sports medicine specialist Dr. John Cheng tackled the suspect before he was shot. Four other church members aged between 66 and 92 were also shot but are expected to survive.

After the shooting, worshipers overpowered and tied Chou with electrical cords while they waited for the deputies to arrive.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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