Multiple People Shot, One Dead, at Laguna Woods Church, Says OC Sheriff

Multiple People Shot, One Dead, at Laguna Woods Church, Says OC Sheriff

Published May 16, 2022
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Multiple people have been shot, with one killed, at Geneva Presbyterian Church on the 24000 block of El Toro Road in Laguna Woods on Sunday, according to the Orange County Sheriffs’ Department. 

OC Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said people in the church wrestled down the shooter, who was armed with two handguns, and tied him up with extension cords before OC Sheriff deputies got there.

“Deputies were here within minutes and by the time we arrived, parishioners had the suspect hogtied and in custody,” Hallock said at a 5 p.m. news conference. “One or more of the congregates acted quite heroically and jumped in.”

He said the shooter is a man, but didn’t give anymore information about him.

Hallock said deputies got a call just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

“At about 1:26 this afternoon, deputies got a call to this presbyterian church here … they arrived and discovered 5 victims – 5 injured victims – and one fatally wounded male as a result of gunshot wounds. Deputies arrived and took a suspect into custody pretty quickly thereafter. And at this point the investigation is currently ongoing,” Hallock told reporters near the church around 3:30 p.m.

Sheriff officials first publicly reported the shooting at 2 p.m. through Twitter.

Four of the five wounded people are in critical condition, according to a tweet from the OC Sheriff’s Department.

The church holds a 10 a.m. service on Sundays for the Taiwanese community, according to its website.

“There was a large number of Taiwanese people inside of the church, but as far as the type of church service or if they were having service, I don’t have those details,” he said.

At the 5 p.m. news conference, Hallock said there was a banquet when the shooting happened.

“I know it was some type of banquet after the service,” he said.

Federal officials from the FBI and ATF are investigating the shooter’s motive and firearms used.

“At this time, we’re working very hard to determine the motive,” said Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI bureau in Los Angeles, which also oversees Orange County.

At the 5 p.m. news conference, she said the people who apprehended the shooter “were very brave in their actions.”

El Toro Road is closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren, with the sheriffs department asking people to stay away from the area.

A spokesperson for the OC Sheriffs Department did not reply to requests for comment by Voice of OC.

This is a developing story, check back for more updates. 

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporter and Report for America corps member, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at nbiesiada@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

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