A group of faithful in a church foils a new massacre in a California church | International

A shooting at a Presbyterian denomination church in Laguna Woods, in California’s Orange County, 80 kilometers from Los Angeles, has caused one death and four seriously injured, local authorities reported this Sunday afternoon. The incident could have been more tragic were it not for the “heroism” and “courage” of the believers, between 30 and 40 people of Taiwanese or Asian origin, who were present in the temple, who subdued and tied the attacker with a cable to take away two weapons. This has prevented a new massacre in the United States. “Undoubtedly, they prevented more injuries and fatalities,” Jeff Hallcock of the county sheriff’s office said at a news conference.

At 1:26 p.m., a man entered the Geneva church and opened fire on the faithful, who were preparing to eat at a farewell banquet for one of the pastors, who was leaving the congregation to return to Taiwan. One person died on the spot immediately. The seriously injured have been transferred to different hospitals and their prognosis is reserved. A fifth person was also slightly injured.

“We believe that a group of worshipers detained him, tied his legs with an extension cord and confiscated at least two weapons. He was already in custody when police officers arrived in the area,” Hallcock told reporters. The suspect, who was not injured during the struggle, is an Asian man in his 60s. The sheriff’s office says he does not live in that area of ​​California and investigations are underway to find out what connection he has with the church or with any of the believers who were there. All the victims of the California shooting are adults, one of them is 92 years old.

The spokesman for the authorities has indicated that it is still unknown what motivated this man to carry out the attack. There are also not enough elements to ensure that this was a new racist attack. The police, however, carried out an exhaustive search for bombs in the perimeter. The shooting comes a day after an 18-year-old white man opened fire in a Buffalo supermarket killing 10 people, mainly African-Americans, in what is considered a hate crime investigated by the federal government.

A police patrol guards the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, hours after the attack.
A police patrol guards the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, hours after the attack.DAVID SWANSON (REUTERS)

The sheriff’s office this afternoon interviewed “between 30 and 40 people”, part of the Taiwanese congregation, who were inside the church at the time of the shooting. The events, from the appearance of the attacker to his bending, occurred “very quickly”, the authorities have pointed out. “Until the process is concluded, we will be able to know if the attacker was known to the faithful,” added Hallcock.

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The Geneva Church is located in an area of ​​Laguna Woods where there are temples of various denominations: Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, as well as a synagogue. This city of 18,000 people is located in southern Orange County, an upper-middle-class enclave in southeastern California.

“It is a dark day for the inhabitants of this community. Just one day after the tragic and hateful day that took several lives in Buffalo, New York, we now have to deal with a shooting at a place of faith, “said Lisa Bartlett, one of the Orange County supervisors, one of the local authorities.

“We are working to determine the motive for the shooting,” said Christie Johnson of the FBI, the federal investigative agency. This Sunday afternoon, the authorities asked the press for time to advance the investigation and thus determine if it is a local crime or a federal crime, such as a racist attack. An agent from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Weapons has stated that the serial numbers of the two firearms seized from the attacker are being investigated to determine which armories they came from. This same official indicated that they were pistols that were purchased legally.

California Governor Gavin Newsom assured on Sunday afternoon that he was closely following the incident and that state authorities had come to support local authorities. “No one should be afraid in the place where they profess their faith. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the community“Newsom, a president who is fighting to tighten the regulation of gun ownership in the entity, has written on Twitter, an effort that runs counter to what is happening in other parts of the country. country.

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