Multiple people have been shot and at least one person has died at a church in Laguna Woods, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD).
One deceased victim, four critically wounded victims, and another with minor injuries were found. All victims are adults and have been sent to an area hospital.
Police said they detained a suspect quickly at the scene and recovered a weapon that was believed to have been used in the shooting.
Police tape at Geneva Presbyterian Church after a shooting left one dead and four critically injured in Laguna Woods, Calif., on May 15, 2022. (Vanessa Serna/The Epoch Times)
About 35 to 40 people witnessed the shooting at the church and are being interviewed by police.
“El Toro Road is closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren, please avoid the area. We are in Unified Command with @OCFireAuthority,” said OCSD on Twitter.
California Governor Gavin Newsom took to Twitter following news of the shooting releasing a statement that read:
"We are actively monitoring the shooting at a church in Laguna Woods and working closely with local law enforcement.
No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event."
Congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents the 45th Congressional District which oversees the area also released a statement to the public:
"A shooting at a church in Laguna Woods has left multiple people injured and one deceased. This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo. This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families."
Laguna Woods is a community comprised primarily of persons considered to be senior citizens, with 82% of residents reportedly over the age of 65
According to reports on Twitter, Geneva Presbyterian hosts a Taiwanese church, and the shooting took place during a lunch meeting of the Taiwanese congregation.
The victims were described as mostly Asian and mostly of Taiwanese descent, authorities said.
The LA Times reports that a law enforcement source said officials believe the suspect was a 68-year-old Asian man who is originally from Las Vegas.
“Things are just breaking down in society right now,” said Patricia Wallace, 61, was inside her apartment when she heard the whirl of helicopters hovering above her complex across the street from the church. “It’s just so sad.”
As of writing, there has been no discussion of this being investigated as a hate crime.