One person has died and five others have been shot at a church north of Laguna Beach in Southern California.
Six people were shot, one of whom sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in the small town of Laguna Woods.
Four of the other victims are said to be seriously injured, while a fifth suffered minor injuries.
The Orange County Fire Authority said it was on scene treating victims and taking several people to the hospital shortly before 1:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon. All the victims were adults.
About 30 people witnessed the violence, said Carrie Braun, a sheriff’s spokeswoman. Most of those inside the church are believed to be of Taiwanese descent, Braun said. They had gathered to honor a former pastor of the church.
Investigators were looking at many factors, including whether the bloodshed could be a hate crime and whether the attacker was known to the church community, he said.
There was no information on a possible motive for the shooting. A Vietnamese church luncheon reception was taking place at the time, meaning most of those in the building were Taiwanese or of Taiwanese descent.
‘Los Ranchos Presbytery is deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a luncheon reception honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that nests at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.’ a statement from the diocese is read.
The city of 18,000 people consists of Laguna Woods Village, a retirement community for seniors 55 and older, once known as Leisure World.
More than 80% of residents in the city about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles are at least 65 years old.
Several people have been shot at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.
Investigators gather outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday after a fatal shooting.
All kinds of emergency vehicles could be seen outside the church on Sunday afternoon.
Deputy Jeff Hallock is shown speaking with members of the media following the shooting on Sunday.
The Orange County Sheriff gave details of what was unfolding Sunday afternoon on Twitter.
The shooting occurred in the small town of Laguna Woods, about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The shooting happened around 1:25 p.m. Sunday at the Laguna Woods retirement community.
Multiple victims have been shot. More details to follow, PIO on the way,” the Orange County Sheriff wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
Minutes after its initial reports, the department reported that one person had been taken into custody and that officers had recovered a weapon that may have been involved in the shooting.
Orange County Fire Authority paramedics were working to treat victims at the scene and transport those who required further attention to area hospitals.
Special agents from the Los Angeles branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were said to be on their way to help with the investigation.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Twitter that it was closely monitoring the situation.
‘No one should be afraid to go to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, the community, and everyone affected by this tragic event,” the tweet read.
“This is disturbing and concerning news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo,” said US Rep. Katie Porter, whose district includes Laguna Woods. ‘This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families.’
The incident occurred in an area with a cluster of places of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches and a Jewish synagogue.
On its website, the Presbyterian Church of Geneva describes its mission as ‘remembering, telling and living the way of Jesus by being just, kind and humble’.
Everyone is welcome here. We really mean it! … Geneva aspires to be an inclusive congregation worshiping, learning, connecting, giving and serving together.’
Several police cars, fire trucks and ambulances could be seen on the scene outside the church.
A fire truck is seen outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods
A passing driver captured footage of multiple fire trucks that were at the scene after the shooting.
A helicopter could be seen racing to the scene in images shared on Facebook.
A person stuck in traffic near the church tweeted a photo of the scene at lunchtime Sunday.
Authorities urged the public to avoid the area as El Toro Road was closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren as the investigation continued.
It was at least the second mass shooting of the weekend in the United States, which has been plagued by gun violence in recent years.
On Saturday, a white supremacist killed 10 people during a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo.
Payton Gendron, 18, is alleged to have shot more than 13 people, most of whom were black.
Authorities say they suspect it was a racially motivated attack.
The shooter is also believed to have livestreamed the rampage. Gendron has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
He is due back in court on Thursday and is currently on suicide watch.
Police tape covers the sidewalk outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the site of an early afternoon shooting in Laguna Woods.
Police tape covers the sidewalk outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the site of a Sunday afternoon shooting
The Geneva Presbyterian Church at 24301 El Toro Rd, Laguna Woods, California is listed on the church’s Facebook page.
A stock photo of what the church normally looks like, as displayed on its Facebook page.