Month After Orange County Church Shooting, Pastor Reacts to Shooting

The Irvine Taiwanese congregation is welcoming too, but sadly last month, they welcomed a man prepared to kill.

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Wednesday marks one month since a gunman opened fire on the campus of Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.

The shooter killed one and injured five others that day, and now for the first time, the senior pastor, Reverend Steven Marsh said his congregation welcomes everyone.

“Anybody. Anybody,” Marsh said. “I don’t care who comes in. If they want to come in it’s our job to say ‘Yes.'"

The Reverend said that is exactly why they invited Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian to share their campus more than a decade ago.

“Why? Because we're Christians. We all believe in Jesus. But we actually like being together,” Pastor Marsh said. “We’re partners in this mission. Yeah, they're family.”

The Irvine Taiwanese congregation is welcoming too, but sadly last month, they welcomed a man prepared to kill.

“His presence of this campus was a violation of everything we believe in,” Marsh said.

On May 15, police say David Chou attended a church service and then joined the group after in the chapel. Police say Chou, a Chinese immigrant from Las Vegas, targeted the Taiwanese congregation, frustrated over political tensions between China and Taiwan.

An Orange County community is mourning the death of a doctor who intervened in a shooting that happened in a Laguna Woods church Sunday. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 16, 2022.

He brought guns and Molotov cocktails to the church.

“He was prepared to kill everyone in that room, and with the Molotov cocktails burn down as much of this campus as he could,” Marsh said.

Using nails and chains, police say Chou trapped the congregants in the social hall and toward the end of the lunch he started shooting. Laguna Niguel Dr. John Cheng died that day. Cheng attempted to tackle the gunman as he opened fire.

“If Dr. Cheng had not done what he did, there would have been close to a massacre of everybody that was in this room,” Marsh said. “He was fully aware of what was going to be going down, and he went straight onto the shooter and took multiple shots.”

Cheng left behind a wife and two kids.

“There's a verse in the Bible that says there is no greater love that a person has than to lay down their life for others,” Marsh said. “That's what Dr. Cheng did.”

Now after shootings in Orange County, Buffalo, and Uvalde, Marsh believes politicians need to step up.

“It is time for you all to set aside whatever you're doing and do your best. You can't stop all killings, but you can certainly get more laws in place that will be helpful,” Marsh said. “They all need to understand this is not about your job anymore, this is about leading in our country. You're here to serve the people.”

And though Marsh believes laws need to change, some things will stay the same. Like the church’s commitment to inclusion.

“All are welcome here. Really,” Marsh said. “All are welcome.”

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