Authorities in California have added hate crime allegations to attempted murder charges filed against a 68-year-old who opened fire at a Taiwanese American church luncheon last month, killing one person and wounding five.
The gunman, David Wenwei Chou, is accused of attacking a gathering of members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian church in Laguna Woods in May. A 52-year-old doctor who took his mother to the event was killed.
Authorities have said Chou was motivated by hatred of Taiwan, where he was born and grew up after his family was forced from mainland China when communists took control.
The mass shooting renewed global scrutiny of China’s rhetoric on Taiwan and rocked the tight-knit Taiwanese American community in California.
“We are all shocked that it went to this level of violence … that someone would bring a gun and shoot up a church,” said Ho Chie Tsai, the founder of the non-profit TaiwaneseAmerican.org.
“This echoes much of the issues that America as a whole has had to deal with: gun violence, race relations and the effects of misinformation.”
Chou is expected to be arraigned on 19 August. He did not enter a plea at an initial court appearance last month. Messages seeking comment were sent Friday to public defenders listed in the online court record for Chou, who is being held without bail.