Hero Pastor Describes How Elderly Congregants Helped Stop California Church Shooter Motivated by Taiwan-China Conflict

Pastor Billy Chang / ABC News

The pastor being hailed a hero for helping to thwart a gunman from taking additional lives at a California church described how the congregation, consisting mostly of elderly attendees, overtook the shooter.

About 50 people had gathered at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, a Taiwanese congregation in Laguna Woods, California, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, on Sunday afternoon for a lunch banquet to welcome back Rev. Billy Chang from a trip to Taiwan, Chang told ABC News.

But a gunman angry over tensions between China and Taiwan, 68-year-old Las Vegas resident David Chou, was also in attendance and attempted to secure the doors inside with chains, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday. Chou also attempted to disable the locks within the church with superglue, Barnes said.

Chang was on the podium taking photos when he witnessed the gunman randomly firing at congregants, he described in a statement on Monday.

A photo of Dr. John Cheng is seen outside his office in Aliso Viejo, California, May 16, 2022, after he was killed protecting others when a gunman opened fire at church services he was attending in nearby Laguna Woods, Calif. on May 15, 2022. / Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Parishioners were able to escape through the one door Chou allegedly did not lock, and when he stopped to reload, Chang and Dr. John Cheng, a prominent sports physician, sprang into action.

Cheng, 52, charged the suspect and tried to disarm him allowing others to jump in, Barnes said. Chang grabbed a chair and slammed it into the shooter, pushing him to the floor, he said.

“I was in shock during these events,” Chang said in the statement.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: ABC News, Julia Jacobo