A gunman who killed a worshiper and injured five others at a California church has been arrested after a pastor hit him in the head with a chair and members of the congregation tied him up.
Police hailed the “exceptional heroism” of the pastor and church members, mostly Taiwanese retirees, after they managed to subdue the gunman on Sunday afternoon.
The pastor hit him in the head with a chair as he stopped to reload his gun at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the town of Laguna Woods and worshipers bound his legs with an electric cord.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear, but investigators do not believe the shooter, an unnamed Asian man in his 60s, lives in the area.
The shooter fired inside the church as members were having lunch after a morning service.
Of the victims who survived the attack, four were seriously injured and one suffered minor injuries.
Four were Asian men aged 66-92 and one was an 86-year-old Asian woman.
The shooting came just a day after an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what officials described as a racially motivated attack.
Church member Jerry Chen, 72, was in the kitchen when he heard gunshots coming from the hall.
He looked around the corner to find members screaming, running and hiding under tables.
“I knew someone was shooting,” he said. “I was very, very scared. I ran out the kitchen door to call 911.”
Mr Chen said he was in shock and could not tell the operator where he was, adding that he had to “ask someone else for the address”.
“It could have been much worse”
A group of about 40 congregants had gathered for lunch with their former pastor, Billy Chang, who returned to Taiwan two years ago after serving the church for two decades.
“Everyone had just finished having lunch,” Mr. Chen said.
“They were taking pictures with Pastor Chang. I had just finished my lunch and went into the kitchen.”
Mr. Chen said his congregants told him that Pastor Chang hit the shooter in the head with a chair.
“It was amazing to see how brave he and the others were,” he said.
“It’s so sad. I never thought something like this would happen in my church, in my community.”
Most of the members are elderly and highly educated Taiwanese immigrants, he added.
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Supermarket shooting victims named
The shooter was a “sick and demented individual”
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Jeff Hallock, Undersheriff of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said, “This group of worshipers displayed what we believe to be exceptional heroism and bravery in responding to arrest the suspect.
“They undoubtedly prevented further injuries and deaths. I think it’s safe to say that if people hadn’t intervened, it could have been much worse.”