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Alleged Chinese Mass Shooter Federally Charged With Hate Crimes For Attack On Taiwanese Church

Federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against a man of Chinese descent for allegedly targeting a Taiwanese church congregation in a mass shooting in 2022, according to reports.

Las Vegas resident David Chou, 69, allegedly killed one person, injured five and tried to murder 39 others during a May 2022 gathering of California’s Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, and he was federally charged with 49 federal hate crime counts and 58 other violations, the Justice Department revealed Thursday. Authorities reported that Chou was born in Taiwan to a mainland Chinese family forced to move there after 1948, saying he was driven to carry out the shooting by political hatred for the country, according to The Associated Press.

Police said Chou had notes in his car decrying Taiwanese independence from mainland China, and Taiwan’s Presbyterian Church has a reputation for supporting causes in favor of such independence, The Los Angeles Times reported. The federal indictment accuses Chou of attacking the church congregants partly due to their Presbyterian faith as well.

Chou referred to Chinese Communists Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping as “great leaders” in 1994 and reportedly took a banner stating, “Swiftly eliminate the monsters of Taiwanese independence” to a pro-China organization’s event in 2019, according to The New York Times. Friends said Chou claimed to have been bullied in youth by children with longer family histories in Taiwan.

Chou could be sentenced to death if convicted. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced state-level hate crime charges against him in June.

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