David Wenwei Chou


David Wenwei Chou is a Las Vegas man, who was identified as the suspect in Sunday's mass shooting at a church in Laguna Woods which appeared to be motivated by political hatred of Taiwan. Chou is an American citizen and a Las Vegas resident.

Date of birth

He is 68 years old as of 2022.

Family

To be updated.

Education

Details regarding his education are not yet available.

Love life

His wife currently lives in Taiwan. 

Net worth

Not yet established.

Career

Chou worked as a security guard and previously lived in other parts of the country, including Texas. He isn't believed by authorities to be associated with any specific church or religion.

The shooting

A shooter killed one man and critically wounded four other people at a Taiwanese congregation's church lunch banquet Sunday in Laguna Woods, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The man who was killed has been identified as Dr. John Cheng, 52, and the alleged shooter has been identified as David Wenwei Chou, 68 — a Chinese immigrant who was allegedly motivated by a hatred for Taiwanese people, according to law enforcement authorities.

Cheng charged the suspect and attempted to disarm him — congregants subsequently subdued, disarmed, and tied up the shooter. A pastor from the congregation threw a chair at the shooter before he was subdued.

The Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church lunch was attended by between 30 and 40 churchgoers from the congregation, held at Geneva Presbyterian Church. Those who were shot ranged in age from 52 to 92.

Authorities are unaware of any direct connection between the alleged shooter and members of the congregation.

Chou reportedly lived in Taiwan when he was younger, according to the OC Sheriff's Department, and was not well received there. Calling it a "politically motivated hate incident," they said Chou was apparently motivated by a "hatred" of the Taiwanese people.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, wearing his green uniform with four stars on the lapels, stands at a podium that has a large replica Sheriff's badge mounted on the front. Two other uniformed officers stand behind him, along with a woman who is partially obscured. A large photo of a doctor in a white lab coat is beside the podium on an easel.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes at a press conference held Monday in the aftermath of Sunday's shooting at a lunch banquet held by the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church.

Chou mingled with churchgoers at the luncheon before opening fire. While at the luncheon, Chou allegedly secured the doors of the church with chains and attempted to disable locks using superglue.

Both semi-automatic pistols retrieved at the scene were legally purchased. Several bags were found in the church that contained four Molotov cocktail-like incendiary devices and additional ammo.

He faces potential charges up to death, or life in prison without parole. A federal hate crimes investigation has been opened, which will help determine what federal charges are brought in this case.

Cheng, not a regular parishioner with the congregation, was attending the luncheon with his mother, according to the Taiwan Church News Network.

"Understanding that there was elderly everywhere and they couldn’t get out of the premises because the doors had been chained," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, "he took it upon himself to charge across the room and to do everything he could to disable the assailant."

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes described Cheng as a hero, with his actions helping to prevent others from being shot while ultimately costing him his own life. Barnes credited Cheng's actions with likely saving the lives of "upwards of dozens of people."

A doctor, Cheng was noted for his "kind manner," according to South Coast Medical Group's website. He studied at Texas Tech School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship at the University of California at Los Angeles and Kaiser Programs in Family and Sports Medicine.

Cheng was a family physician focusing in sports medicine. He was also a kung fu martial arts instructor, a father of two, and had served as team physician for several local high schools.

The Possible Motive

China and Taiwan have longstanding political tensions, with China continuing to claim Taiwan as part of China while other nations around the world have recognized Taiwan as an independent nation. Preliminary information shows that Chou was believed to be "upset" about political tensions between China and Taiwan, according to authorities. That includes notes regarding "his hatred of the Taiwanese people" left in his car, according to Barnes.

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David Wenwei Chou
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