The deadly attack by a man on predominantly Taiwanese worshipers at a church in the US state of California was apparently politically motivated. “It is believed that the suspect was angered by political tensions between China and Taiwan,” Orange County Sheriff Donald Barnes said on Monday, according to media reports. The perpetrator was probably targeting Taiwanese society.
The suspect, a 68-year-old US citizen from Las Vegas, immigrated from China years ago. He was arrested and is due to appear in court on Tuesday.
A gunman killed one person and wounded five others with gunshots, four of them seriously, at a church in Laguna Woods south of Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. Parishioners from the church overpowered the alleged perpetrator. The service was mainly Taiwanese, a total of around 50 people, it was said.
Barnes said it is believed the suspect acted alone and had no direct connection to the church or any member of the church. Apparently, the parishioners prevented even worse: Barnes said the suspect secured the doors of the church from the inside before he started shooting. He also had a bag of Molotov cocktails and a bag of extra ammo. Prosecutors are considering charging the suspect Tuesday with one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
China regards democratic Taiwan as its own territory and threatens to conquer it. Beijing is also trying to isolate Taiwan internationally.