Authorities were dispatched to the scene of a shooting at a church in Laguna Woods on Sunday.
The circumstances leading up to the incident were not immediately known, although deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the scene at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, in the 24000 block of El Toro Road, at around 1:25 p.m. p.m
Agents revealed that the suspect, an adult Asian male in his 60s, had been taken into custody at the scene and a weapon was recovered.
One man sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene, while other victims are said to be seriously injured and one suffered minor injuries.
All the victims were reported to be adults.
Between 30 and 40 people were said to be inside the church at the time of the shooting and Orange County Deputy Chief Jeff Hallock said a large number of those gathered at the church were believed to be of Taiwanese descent.
During a news conference later Sunday afternoon, Hallock went on to point out that the incident occurred at a luncheon banquet following a church morning service.
“We believe a group of parishioners stopped him and tied his legs with an extension cord and seized at least two weapons from him,” Hallock said. “He was taken into custody when officers arrived. That group of parishioners displayed what we believe to be exceptional heroism and bravery in stepping in to apprehend the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and deaths.”
Orange County Fire Authority paramedics were working to treat victims at the scene and transport those who required further attention.
Sky9 above revealed that authorities had recorded a single vehicle with Nevada plates in the church parking lot.
Deputies were working to determine a motive in the shooting.
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.
As a result, authorities urged the public to avoid the area as El Toro Road was closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren while the investigation continued.
California Governor Gavin Newsom took to Twitter following news of the shooting and issued a statement that read:
“We are actively monitoring the church shooting in Laguna Woods and working closely with local law enforcement.
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.”
Congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents the 45th Congressional District that oversees the area, also issued a statement to the public:
“A church shooting in Laguna Woods has left multiple people injured and one dead. This is disturbing and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo. This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to Support the victims and their families.”
Presbytery Co-Executive of Vision and Mission/Chief of Staff Tom Cramer issued a “Call to Prayer” statement, which read:
“The Presbytery of Los Ranchos 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. Initial reports indicate that one person has died. and several others were seriously injured. Please keep the leaders of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for those traumatized by this shooting. In your mercy, O Lord, we pray.”
Laguna Woods is a community comprised primarily of people considered seniors, with 82% of residents over the age of 65, as detailed by the United States Census Bureau.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more information.