Las Vegas Ex-Security Guard Remains in Custody for Deadly Church Shooting Spree

Posted on: June 12, 2022, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: June 12, 2022, 04:09h.

A 68-year-old Las Vegas man accused of killing one man and wounding five others in a Southern California church last month remains behind bars this weekend without bail. If convicted, he could be executed. A public defender was appointed to represent him on a variety of serious charges.

David Wenwei Chou confers with Santa Ana, Calif. Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Ryan in a California courtroom
David Wenwei Chou confers with Santa Ana, Calif. Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Ryan in a California courtroom. He is charged in last month’s deadly church shooting. (Image: MediaNews Group, Orange County Register via Getty Images/Mark Rightmire)

The counts against David Wenwei Chou include special circumstances murder, five counts of attempted murder, and four counts of unlawful possession of explosives, according to the Orange County Register.

In recent years, he worked as a security guard in Las Vegas for several security firms, the Los Angeles Times has reported. At least one of his employers provided security to casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, the report added.

No Plea Entered

On Friday, he appeared in Orange County Superior Court. Superior Court Judge Cynthia Herrera delayed his arraignment until Aug. 19. He has yet to enter a plea on the charges. When he reappears in court, his attorney could try to have the judge set bail.

Friday’s hearing lasted about two minutes. A Mandarin interpreter translated for Chou. He was held in a holding cage at the Santa Ana courtroom.

On May 15, Chou allegedly fired multiple shots during a Taiwanese church service luncheon held in Laguna Woods’ Geneva Presbyterian church. He allegedly chained and nailed doors shut before shooting at the victims, the Associated Press reported. Chou even used Super Glue to fasten the doors, authorities claim.

Parishioners were able to restrain him until police officers arrived. Realizing the violent risk, a man believed to be the church’s former pastor, Billy Chang, reportedly used a chair to strike Chou in the head. Other congregants then grabbed his firearm. They were able to tie his legs using electrical cords

Later, authorities found additional ammunition, as well as devices similar to Molotov cocktails, in bags hidden in the church.

Police recovered two semi-automatic 9 mm firearms from the church, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said. They were legally purchased.

The man killed in the attack was identified as Dr. John Cheng, 52. Five others victims required treatment at a local hospital.

Grievances About Taiwan

Chou was born in Taiwan. He spent his youth there, too. His anger with Taiwan and its tension with China may have been a motive in the shooting, law enforcement officials have revealed. He apparently had a grievance with the Taiwanese community, too.

Chou apparently drove from Las Vegas to Orange County, California hours before the shooting. He had no prior ties to the church.

Chou once co-owned the apartment building in which he lived, located near Twain Avenue and Decatur Boulevard, according to the Review-Journal. He later sold it. Chou may have been living in his car in recent months, KSNV, a Las Vegas TV station, reported.