National News

Hero pastor describes how elderly congregation helped to stop California church shooter

Hero pastor describes how elderly congregation helped to stop California church shooter

ABC News(LAGUNA WOODS, Calif.) -- The pastor being hailed a hero for helping to thwart a gunman from taking additional lives at a California church described how the congregation, consisting mostly of elderly attendees, overtook the shooter. About 50 people had gathered at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, a Taiwanese congregation in Laguna Woods, California, about… ... Continue Reading
Regular shoppers, a retired police officer: Remembering the victims of the Buffalo shooting

Regular shoppers, a retired police officer: Remembering the victims of the Buffalo shooting

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Ten people, all of whom were Black, were killed in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, in an attack authorities are calling a "racially motivated hate crime." The victims included four grocery store employees as well as six… ... Continue Reading
Suspect arrested in Dallas salon shooting as FBI opens hate crime investigation

Suspect arrested in Dallas salon shooting as FBI opens hate crime investigation

Ilkay Dede / EyeEm/ Getty Images

(DALLAS) -- Dallas police arrested a suspect in connection with the May 11 shooting of three women in a hair salon in the city's Koreatown. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and could be linked to a series of recent shootings at Asian-run businesses in the city, police said.

The victims, the salon owner, an employee and a customer, are all Korean, according to ABC affiliate station WFAA in Dallas. The women suffered nonfatal injuries and were transported to a local hospital, according to police.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia identified the suspect as 36-year-old Jeremy Smith during a press conference on Tuesday. Garcia said that Smith was charged with three counts of aggravated assault.

"During our investigation, detectives learned that two years ago Smith had a motor vehicle crash with an Asian male," Garcia said. "Since this crash, Smith has had panic attacks and delusions when he is around anyone of Asian descent."

The Dallas Police Department and the FBI are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

"The Dallas FBI Field Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District in Texas and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice have opened a federal hate crime investigation into the incident at Hair World Salon in Dallas,” a spokesperson for the FBI field office in Dallas told ABC News on Monday. "We are in close communication with Dallas Police and are partnering together to thoroughly investigate this incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time."

Police met with community members at a town hall in Koreatown on Monday amid concerns for the public's safety.

Two of the shooting victims – the owner and an employee – were present at the meeting, according to WFAA. The employee spoke with the help of an interpreter and her was face covered. The women did not reveal their names.

Garcia said that police continue to investigate two other shootings that may be linked to the salon shooting.

"At this time, there have been no arrests on those cases," Garcia said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

The arrest comes days after Garcia announced during a Friday press conference that law enforcement “concluded three recent shootings of Asian run businesses may be connected.” The suspect in each incident was driving a similar vehicle.

Police said they learned from a witness report that an unknown Black male parked in what appeared to be "a dark color minivan-type vehicle" on Royal Lane and then walked across the parking lot and into the establishment, allegedly opening fire as soon as he entered the salon.

Police also released a security image of a maroon minivan they said the shooter fled the scene in.

Garcia said the shooting at the salon might be linked to one that happened a day before and one that took place last month.

Police learned from witness reports that on April 2, a driver in a red minivan drove past a strip mall of Asian-run businesses and fired shots at three businesses. No one was injured.

And on May 10, a suspect in a burgundy van or car drove by and shot into Asian-run businesses near 4849 Sunnyvale Street, police said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have reached out to our partners to make them aware of the possible connection and ask for their assistance,” Garcia said. “This includes the FBI and member agencies of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. We are also working with North Texas police partners to determine if this criminal action has or is taking place in their jurisdictions.”

Garcia said police will be increasing the presence of high visibility patrol officers in areas in the city where there are large Asian American populations.

“We are turning to every resident of the city of Dallas to keep an eye out and safeguard our city,” Garcia said. “Hate has no place here.”

These incidents in Dallas come amid a spate of attacks targeting Asian Americans across the nation, which spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC News' Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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Suspected gunman in California church shooting could face death penalty, prosecutors say

Suspected gunman in California church shooting could face death penalty, prosecutors say

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(LAGUNA WOODS, Calif.) -- The suspected gunman in a shooting at a California church that police believe was politically motivated could face the death penalty in a murder charge announced by prosecutors on Tuesday. David Chou, 68, is accused of killing one person and wounding five… ... Continue Reading
New Mexico battling historic blaze as Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire 26% contained

New Mexico battling historic blaze as Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire 26% contained

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images Meredith Deliso, ABC News (SANTA FE, N.M.) -- A massive wildfire currently burning east of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is now the largest in the state's history as thousands of firefighters continue to battle the blaze. The Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire -- made up of two fires that… ... Continue Reading
Baltimore-area nail salon explosion that injured cops, EMTs was deliberately set: Police

Baltimore-area nail salon explosion that injured cops, EMTs was deliberately set: Police

Baltimore County Fire Department(BALTIMORE) -- A fire and explosion at a suburban Baltimore nail salon that injured seven people was deliberately set by an "emotionally distressed" man, authorities said Tuesday. Four police officers and two emergency medical workers were wounded in the incident. The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, was critically injured in… ... Continue Reading
After Buffalo shooting, experts question whether America can face its far-right extremism problem

After Buffalo shooting, experts question whether America can face its far-right extremism problem

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Within the pages of the alleged Buffalo shooter's plan to attack a Buffalo, New York supermarket, he described the radical ideals he said he cultivated on the internet. It included racist and antisemitic rants reminiscent of the sentiments espoused by shooters who committed similar atrocities in El Paso, Texas, and… ... Continue Reading
If Roe is overturned, experts fear for incarcerated people and reproductive care

If Roe is overturned, experts fear for incarcerated people and reproductive care

WIN-Initiative/Neleman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For people in jails and prisons across the country, where reproductive health care is already abysmal, the potential end of Roe v. Wade is a haunting prospect. "[People are] going to be forced to carry a pregnancy and be forced to give birth -- that literally will be part of their… ... Continue Reading
EMS, police officers among seven injured in explosion at Baltimore-area nail salon

EMS, police officers among seven injured in explosion at Baltimore-area nail salon

Perry Gerenday/Getty Images

(WINDSOR MILL, Md.) -- Police officers and EMS providers are among the seven people injured following an explosion at a nail salon in Windsor Mill, Maryland, Monday night, authorities said.

Four police officers, two EMS providers and one civilian were hospitalized after the "minor explosion" at a strip mall, the Baltimore County Fire Department said.

The explosion took place at the Libra Nails & Spa on the 1700 block of N. Rolling Road. The fire department responded to a call for a commercial building fire possibly involving hazardous materials, it said.

Investigators were called to the scene for possible criminal activity, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting the investigation, ABC News Baltimore affiliate WMAR-TV reported.

The fire is under control, authorities said.

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How 'replacement theory' became prominent in mainstream US politics

How 'replacement theory' became prominent in mainstream US politics

Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The 18-year-old suspect who allegedly shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket on Saturday in the heart of a Black community in Buffalo, New York appears to have been motivated by a racist, far-right conspiracy theory that has increasingly found footing in mainstream U.S.… ... Continue Reading
Document appears to show Buffalo shooter's planning including March trip to supermarket

Document appears to show Buffalo shooter's planning including March trip to supermarket

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- An online document obtained by ABC News appears to chronicle how Payton Gendron carefully planned out his attack at least two months before he allegedly shot and killed 10 people at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, according to law enforcement sources.

According to the document, Gendron, on March 8, drove to Buffalo and visited the supermarket, where he was questioned by a security guard at the store as he was compiling detailed plans of the location.

The 589-page document, which is separate from the 180-page hate-filled screed Gendron is alleged to have posted online just before the massacre, includes sketches of the supermarket, including the makeup of different aisles, with notes on how to navigate around quickly.

Law enforcement officials are investigating the document's origins and authenticity as they try to determine who may have had access to it.

Sources tell ABC News that the document is a compilation of messages posted to the online community platform Discord starting in 2021.

According to the Washington Post, which was first to report on the document, it was uploaded to the file-sharing site MediaFire by an anonymous user on April 29, and was accessible until Monday. The document was deleted shortly after the Post contacted the platform for comment, the Post said.

On a conference call Tuesday with state and local partners, law enforcement officials said that Gendron began posting threads to Discord regarding body armor in the summer of 2021, according to a source familiar with the phone call. In April of 2022, the threads also taunted federal law enforcement, officials on the call said.

ABC News Consultant and former Department of Homeland Security official John Cohen said Discord is commonly used by high school kids and gamers.

"Because the creator of a chat group has control over content, it has also increasingly become a platform of choice for violent extremists," Cohen said.

It is unclear who, if anyone, had access to these posts.

The document details Gendron's interactions with what he describes as a black armed security guard during his March visit to the supermarket.

According to authorities, a security guard was killed during Saturday's attack after firing at Gendron, who was protected by body armor.

Another post describes the Tops supermarket as the first location to be targeted, and goes on to list two other nearby locations to possibly attack, including a deli and a barbershop.

In a bulletin published Monday by the New York Police Department and obtained by ABC News, officials said this type of online communication "underscores that an online connection to an extremist culture and ideology through social media, online gaming platforms, or anonymous message boards like 4chan, can be equally effective in mobilizing individuals to violence as connections to real-world groups."

"Online gaming platforms, in particular Twitch and Discord, have become popular social media alternatives for far-right extremists due to minimal content moderation, as opposed to more mainstream social media platforms," the NYPD bulletin said.

Thomas Holt, director and professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, told ABC News that the content in these platforms has "changed over time" and that "some groups have radicalized more than others."

Some extremist users prefer the platforms because the rules governing content are left to individual moderators, said Holt.

"In these forums you can kind of act as you wish, and it just depends on the moderators of either the subsection or the overall site to take action -- and that's highly variable," Holt said.

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FDA, Abbott agree on plan to resume production of infant formula at Michigan plant

FDA, Abbott agree on plan to resume production of infant formula at Michigan plant

Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- In a move to ease a nationwide shortage of infant formula, the Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it has agreed with Abbott Nutrition on a plan to reopen the company’s manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan, after it was shut down following the discovery of a deadly bacteria inside.

The FDA also announced Monday it would make it easier for global manufacturers to sell their product inside the U.S. so long as they meet certain criteria.

Officials cautioned it might still take weeks before many parents see more infant formula on shelves, either from the Sturgis facility or from foreign suppliers. But the two developments were hopeful signs the crisis would resolve.

"With these additional flexibilities in place, we anticipate that additional products can quickly hit U.S. stores," FDA Commissioner Bob Califf told reporters in a press call, adding that he expects supply will "continue to improve over the next couple of months."

Companies that manufacture infant formula were already dealing with supply chain issues last fall when the FDA began investigating reports that four infants in three states fell ill with bacterial infections. After inspectors found a bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii inside Abbott's Sturgis factory last February, Abbott closed its plant and agreed to a voluntary recall.

Abbott maintains that there is still no conclusive evidence linking its formula to four infant illnesses, which included two deaths.

"The infants consumed four different types of our formula made over the course of nearly a year and the illnesses took place over several months in three different states," Abbott tweeted last week. "The formula from this plant did not cause these infant illnesses."

FDA officials on Monday, however, cautioned against any conclusions in the cases and said the investigation remains ongoing. They noted in particular that genetic sequencing of bacteria was only provided in two of the four cases and that more work needs to be done to rule out the causes.

The Sturgis facility closure seemed to be the tipping point for the supply crunch because of Abbott’s heavy influence in the U.S. market, where 90% of the nation’s supply comes from just four companies.

Also problematic was that the Sturgis facility was a top producer of specialty formula required by infants with specific medical needs.

According to Abbott, the latest agreement with the FDA lays out "the steps necessary to resume production and maintain the facility" but remains subject to court approval.

Abbott said it could restart operations at the site within two weeks pending an official green light from the FDA and that it would take six to eight weeks after that before the product is back on shelves.

"Our number one priority is getting infants and families the high-quality formulas they need, and this is a major step toward re-opening our Sturgis facility so we can ease the nationwide formula shortage," said Robert B. Ford, chairman and chief executive officer of Abbott.

The FDA on Monday also announced it is easing import restrictions on foreign-made infant formula. The FDA said it is already in discussions with "some manufacturers and suppliers" regarding additional supply. It does not say which manufacturers, but said it's casting a broad net.

The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have health and safety inspections similar to the United States, and new imports could potentially come from those places, according to one senior Biden administration official.

The FDA said global manufacturers interested in selling formula inside the U.S. must submit information about their products to regulators.

The FDA will, in turn, "quickly evaluate whether the product can be used safely and whether it provides adequate nutrition,” the agency said in a statement.

The U.S. normally produces 98% of the infant formula it consumes, according to the FDA.

Officials couldn't predict exactly how soon parents might see imported product on shelves other than to say supply would gradually improve over the next two months.

"I think we're looking at weeks in terms of getting the imported product into the market," said Susan Mayne, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

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Buffalo suspect had plans to continue his killing rampage: Commissioner

Buffalo suspect had plans to continue his killing rampage: Commissioner

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old who allegedly gunned down 10 people -- all of whom were Black -- at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, would have continued his rampage had he not been stopped, Buffalo Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News.

"We have uncovered information that if he escaped the [Tops] supermarket, he had plans to continue his attack," Gramaglia said. "He had plans to continue driving down Jefferson Ave. to shoot more Black people ... possibly go to another store [or] location."

Authorities are calling Saturday's massacre a "racially motivated hate crime."

"This was well-planned ... by a sick person," Gramaglia said.

Gendron -- who is from Conklin, New York, about 200 miles from Buffalo -- drove to Buffalo on March 8 and visited the Tops supermarket, according to a document obtained by ABC News. He was confronted by a security guard at the store as he was compiling detailed plans of the location.

The document included sketches of the store where he outlined different aisles and how he would navigate around quickly.

Gendron allegedly dropped off ammunition at his best friends house on Friday, the day before the shooting, Matthew Casado, 19, who has known Gendron since the second grade, told ABC News.

He allegedly showed up to Casado’s Conklin house unannounced, Casado, who described himself as one of Gendron's best friends, said. One of Casado's roommates let Gendron in around 8 a.m. and Gendron dropped off five boxes of ammo, Casado said.

Casado was away at work and later received a text from Gendron around 4:30 p.m saying that he, “put ammo cans in my room because he needed space to arrange in his house,” Casado said. Gendron said that he would come get the munitions around 7:30 p.m. that night but never showed up, Casado said.

Casado’s family later called the authorities and they picked up the ammo, he said.

Casado, who is Hispanic, said Gendron never stuck out to him as racist.

“Up until Saturday when I got the news, I always thought he was a kind harmless person. He never stuck out to me as dangerous. He never stuck out to me as racist,” he told ABC News.

Pamela Burdock, Casado’s mother, who said she was like a second mother to Gendron, said the suspected shooter’s parents did not allow him to play violent video games.

"Payton didn’t play video games that had guns. He wasn’t allowed to. He wasn’t allowed to at his house, and when he came here, he chose not to. He respected his parents' wishes,” she said.

While Casado would play Call of Duty, Gendron would play on his phone or sit in another room, Casado said.

"I love Payton. He was like my other child. I never had a problem with him. He was always respectful. He was nice to me … It’s breaking my heart that he did this,” Burdock said.

Evidence points to Gendron self-radicalizing when the pandemic began, spending inordinate amounts of time engrossing himself on hate posts on social media, according to a senior law enforcement source briefed on the case.

Law enforcement assessed that in May 2020, the teen watched a 17-minute video of the gunman who attacked two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, killing 51 people.

In recent months and weeks, some of the items Gendron posted on social media became increasingly violent in tone, a senior law enforcement source said.

Some of the online postings of Payton Gendron that were part of the over-500 page document were written online in a private group chat on the social media platform Discord, sources told ABC News. It is unclear who had access to the group.

Discord is a popular platform mostly with high school students and has been used to spread conspiracy theories, said former Department of Homeland Security official and ABC News Consultant John Cohen.

The platform can be used to message users privately or as a public messaging board for other users to see, Thomas Holt, director and professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, told ABC News. It depends on the user profile to determine what type of privacy settings to have, he added.

"In these forums you can kind of act as you wish, and it just depends on the moderators of either subsection or the overall site to take action and that’s highly variable," Holt said of the platforms containing message boards Gendron allegedly used, which include 4chan and 8chan as well.

FBI Director Christopher Wray described the shooting as a "targeted attack" and a "hate crime" during a conference call Monday with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, as well as private sector and local, state and federal law enforcement partners.

Wray offered his deepest condolences to the victims and their families and to the entire community of Buffalo for what he called a “despicable attack.”

"I want to be clear, for my part, from everything we know, this was a targeted attack, a hate crime, and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” said Wray said "While there remain a lot of unknowns as there always do in an investigation at this stage, what is absolutely certain is that we at the FBI are committed to comprehensively and aggressively investigating Saturday’s attack."

Wrap continued, "Racially motivated violence will not be tolerated in this country."

Officers responded to Saturday's shooting within one minute and when they approached the suspect, the teen put his assault rifle to his neck, according to the commissioner.

The commissioner praised the responding officers who he said deescalated the situation and convinced the gunman to drop his weapon, saving countless lives.

Multiple high-capacity magazines were recovered on Gendron and in his car, the commissioner said. While he declined to say what evidence pointed to additional shooting plans, the commissioner said investigators have been going through his phone and other electronics.

Police determined Gendron arrived in Buffalo on Friday via license plate reader and other evidence, the commissioner said. Police are still working to determine where he stayed overnight before Saturday's attack.

Shonnell Harris Teague, an operations manager at Tops, said she saw Gendron sitting on a bench outside of the store on Friday afternoon. She said he was there for several hours with a camper bag on his back, dressed in the same camouflage outfit he wore Saturday.

She said Gendron entered the store Friday evening, and appeared as if he was bothering customers. Teague asked him to leave and he did so without an argument.

The next time Teague saw him was on Saturday as a mass shooting unfolded at her store. She escaped out of the back when she saw Gendron.

"I see him with his gear on and his gun and how it was all strapped on. ... I seen all the other bodies on the ground. ... It was just a nightmare," she said.

Multiple Buffalo officials are urging community members, including children, to take advantage of mental health resources in the wake of the tragedy.

President Joe Biden is expected to meet with victims and their relatives during his trip to Buffalo Tuesday to offer them comfort and "grieve with them," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Gendron has been arraigned on one count of first-degree murder and is due back in court on May 19.

Gendron underwent a mental health evaluation after he expressed a desire last June to carry out a murder-suicide. But he was still able to legally buy the semiautomatic rifle police said was used in the attack because no criminal charges resulted from his encounter with New York State Police.

Gramaglia told ABC News the nature of Gendron’s threat last June was "generalized" and included nothing specific.

Meanwhile, a Buffalo man, Joseph Chowaniec, has been charged with making terroristic threats after he allegedly referenced the supermarket shooting during threatening phone calls to a pizzeria and a brewery on Sunday, the Erie County District Attorney's Office said.

"Let this case send a message," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Monday. "He's facing seven years in jail -- and that's what anyone in the public is gonna face if … they want to reference the awful tragedy at Tops."

Chowaniec, 52, was arraigned on Monday and is set to return to court on May 20.

ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Luke Barr and Miles Cohen contributed to this report.

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California church shooting suspect motivated by Taiwan-China conflict: Police

California church shooting suspect motivated by Taiwan-China conflict: Police

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(LAGUNA WOODS, Calif.) -- The deadly shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday, was motivated by the political tension between China and Taiwan, authorities said Monday. One person was killed and five were wounded, four critically, in the shooting inside the Geneva Presbyterian… ... Continue Reading
First all-Black team summits Everest

First all-Black team summits Everest

Full Circle Everest via Instagram(NEW YORK) -- The first all-Black Mount Everest expedition team, Full Circle Everest, has reached the summit of the highest mountain on Earth, and their excitement can be felt from thousands of feet below. The seven climbers who reached the summit include Manoah Ainuu, Eddie Taylor, Rosemary Saal, Demond “Dom” Mullins,… ... Continue Reading
From Buffalo to Houston, 8 US cities rocked by violent weekend of shootings

From Buffalo to Houston, 8 US cities rocked by violent weekend of shootings

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A grocery store, a park, a church and a flea market were among the locations where gunfire erupted over the weekend in eight U.S. cities, leaving at least 65 people shot, 17 fatally. The shootings came over a violent 72-hour stretch and included multiple… ... Continue Reading
One killed, five wounded in shooting at California church: Authorities

One killed, five wounded in shooting at California church: Authorities

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(LAGUNA WOODS, Calif.) -- The deadly shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday, was motivated by the political tension between China and Taiwan, authorities said Monday.

One person was killed and five were wounded, four critically, in the shooting inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

All victims are adults and range in age from 66 to 92 years old, the sheriff's office said.

A group of churchgoers detained the suspect and hogtied his legs with an extension cord and confiscated two handguns from him before more people could be shot, according to Jeff Hallock, Undersheriff at the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

"That group of churchgoers displayed what we believed exceptional heroism, heroism and bravery in interfering or intervening to stop the suspect," Hallock said.

The two victims taken to Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, are now in good condition, the hospital said Monday.

The suspect was identified Monday in Orange County jail records as 68-year-old Las Vegas resident David Chou. He is expected to be charged with one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder and is being held on $1 million bail, jail records show.

The suspect secured the doors and tried to super glue the locks so victims could not leave, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday. Law enforcement found more ammunition and Molotov cocktails placed around the church.

The FBI has opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the shooting.

Chou is Chinese but an American citizen, officials said. He lived alone in Las Vegas and has a wife and child who are not living in the U.S.

Authorities believe Chou's anger began when he lived in Taiwan, where he felt he was an outsider, and his anti-Taiwan views were not accepted, Barnes said.

Chou's wife and son still live in Taiwan, but Chou has lived alone in the U.S. for many years, Barnes said, adding that Chou's views have become more radical as tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated.

Investigators found writings in Chou's car that described his hatred for Taiwan, Barnes said, adding that they were not a manifesto, but rather "notes." Authorities hypothesize that Chou may have targeted the Orange County church because it was the closest, Barnes said.

The shooting occurred during a lunch banquet being held at the church, which caters to the Taiwanese population in Southern California.

"The Presbytery of Los Ranchos is deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that nests at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods," Tom Cramer, Presbytery head of staff, said in a statement Sunday. "Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for those traumatized by this shooting."

China has long held that Taiwan is part of its country, while Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation dating back to when Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland as the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949.

The shooting was reported at about 1:26 p.m. local time, authorities said.

There were 30 to 40 people inside the church when the shooting began, officials said.

Dr. John Cheng, 52, a prominent doctor in the area, was identified as the only person killed in the attack. He is being called a hero for saving lives. He charged the suspect and tried to disarm him allowing others to jump in, Barnes said. During the process, Cheng was shot and killed. Without his actions, the sheriff and FBI believes there would have been more people shot.

The two handguns found at the scene were legally purchased by Chou in Las Vegas, investigators said.

ABC News' Alex Stone contributed to this report.

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Suspect arrested in disappearance, murder of teen who went missing during spring break 2009

Suspect arrested in disappearance, murder of teen who went missing during spring break 2009

Georgetown County Sheriff's Office(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) -- Investigators in South Carolina have made a significant break in the case of a teen who went missing in 2009 while vacationing for spring break. A suspect in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel, who disappeared in 2009 after traveling to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for spring break, has… ... Continue Reading
Buffalo gunman had plans to continue his killing rampage: Commissioner

Buffalo gunman had plans to continue his killing rampage: Commissioner

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old who allegedly gunned down 10 people -- all of whom were Black -- at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, would have continued his rampage had he not been stopped, Buffalo Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News.

"We have uncovered information that if he escaped the [Tops] supermarket, he had plans to continue his attack," Gramaglia said. "He had plans to continue driving down Jefferson Ave. to shoot more Black people ... possibly go to another store [or] location."

Authorities are calling Saturday's massacre a "racially motivated hate crime."

"This was well planned ... by a sick person," Gramaglia said.

Officers responded to the scene within one minute and when they approached the suspect, the teen put his assault rifle to his neck, according to the commissioner.

The commissioner praised the responding officers who he said deescalated the situation and convinced the gunman to drop his weapon, saving countless lives.

Multiple high-capacity magazines were recovered on Gendron and in his car, the commissioner said. While he declined to say what evidence pointed to additional shooting plans, the commissioner said investigators have been going through his phone and other electronics.

The teen is from Conklin, New York, which is 200 miles east of Buffalo.

Police determined Gendron arrived in Buffalo on Friday via license plate reader and other evidence, the commissioner said. Police are still working to determine where he stayed overnight before Saturday's attack.

Shonnell Harris Teague, an operations manager at Tops, said she saw Gendron sitting on a bench outside of the store on Friday afternoon. She said he was there for several hours with a camper bag on his back, dressed in the same camouflage outfit he wore Saturday.

She said Gendron entered the store Friday evening, and appeared as if he was bothering customers. Teague asked him to leave and he did so without an argument.

The next time Teague saw him was on Saturday as a mass shooting unfolded at her store. She escaped out of the back when she saw Gendron.

"I see him with his gear on and his gun and how it was all strapped on. ... I seen all the other bodies on the ground. ... It was just a nightmare," she said.

Gendron has been arraigned on one count of first-degree murder and is due back in court on May 19.

Meanwhile, a Buffalo man, Joseph Chowaniec, has been charged with making terroristic threats after he allegedly referenced the supermarket shooting during threatening phone calls to a pizzeria and a brewery on Sunday, the Erie County District Attorney's Office said.

"This crime will not be tolerated -- especially as we are actively investigating the Jefferson Avenue shooting as a domestic terrorism incident," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a statement.

Chowaniec, 52, was arraigned on Monday and is set to return to court on May 20.

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Victims of deadly Houston flea market shooting were involved in gunfight: Officials

Victims of deadly Houston flea market shooting were involved in gunfight: Officials

KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) -- A fight between two groups of people led to a shooting Sunday that left two men dead and three others hurt at a busy Houston flea market, where thousands of people were shopping, authorities said. The incident unfolded around 1 p.m. at the popular Sunny Flea Market held at the Tia Pancha Center… ... Continue Reading