Decisive actions from parishioners stopped a gunman who opened fire inside an Orange County church by hog-tying him with an extension cord in what authorities called an exceptional act of bravery.
One person was killed and five were injured, four critically, in the shooting early Sunday afternoon at Geneva Presbyterian Church in the city of Laguna Woods. The tragedy could have been worse had it not been for the quick actions of people gathered in the church for a lunch that followed a morning service.
“We believe a group of churchgoers detained him, and hogtied his legs with an extension cord, and confiscated at least two weapons from him,” said Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock. “That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities.”
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Between 30 and 40 people were at the church. It was not immediately clear how many people stepped in to stop the shooter.
The shooter, identified only as a man in his 60s, was detained by parishioners until deputies arrived, the undersheriff said. Two handguns were recovered, authorities said.
One man died at the scene and a fifth injured person suffered minor injuries, officials said. All the victims were adults.
Details about the attacker’s city of residence were not immediately available, but authorities said a preliminary investigation indicated he is not from the area. A motive remained unclear.
“Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for the those traumatized by this shooting,” the presbytery’s Tom Cramer said in a statement on Facebook.
Federal agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded. The FBI also sent agents to the scene to assist the sheriff.
The shooting came a day after an 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.