According to Reuters, a fatal shooting happened at a Taiwan-American church in southern California on May 15. The shooting left one person dead and five others injured. The suspect appeared motivated by political hatred toward Taiwan.
According to Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, the suspect was identified as David Wenwei Chou, 68. He is a U.S. citizen born in China.
Barnes said that Chou was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan.
On Saturday, Chou drove to Southern California before launching the church attack on Sunday.
The suspect chained the doors and used glue to disable the locks before opening fire inside the church.
As Los Angeles Times reported, Barnes later found hand-written notes in Chinese in Chou’s car. The notes stated that he did not believe Taiwan should be independent of China.
Barnes said, “We believe, based on what we’ve discovered so far, that he specifically targeted the Taiwanese community, and this is one representation of that Taiwanese community.”
The FBI has opened a hate crimes investigation into the case.
On May 17, when a reporter asked if Chou’s shooting incident was a political hate crime, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin replied that Beijing had noted the relevant reports. However, Wang did not comment on the suspect’s background; instead, he urged the U.S. to solve the domestic gun violence problem.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, responded to a reporter’s question about the shooting. Zhu did not comment on the shooter’s background but condemned some Taiwanese media for taking the opportunity to hype up the incident.
Some speculate that Chou was part of the National Association for China’s Peaceful Unification (NACPU). However, the U.S. characterizes the organization as a foreign mission for China and an affiliate of the United Front Work Department of the CCP.
In a Twitter post on May 17, user @Wenhao uploaded a photo of Zhou participating in the association’s inauguration ceremony. This user wrote, “California church shooter, pro-unification advocate David Chou called pro-independence Taiwanese “devils/monsters” in a slogan, where he seemed to have called himself the son of China’s Hunan army.”