When a gunman opened fire Sunday in a South California church, the fast-acting pastor hit him with a chair and parishioners quickly hog-tied him with electrical cords and held him until authorities arrived.
The deadly attack unfolded Sunday afternoon around 1:30 p.m., at the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.
Roughly 40 worshippers had gathered for a luncheon to welcome Pastor Billy Chang home after being in Taiwan for two years.
“Everyone had just finished lunch,” Jerry Chen, 72, said. “They were taking photos with Pastor Chang. I had just finished my lunch and went into the kitchen.”
That’s when David Chou, 68, opened fire on the group, killing Pastor Chang and injuring five senior citizens.
Chen said he peeked out of the kitchen and saw chaos as everyone began frantically running. Chen said he ran outside to call the police.
Parishoners said that when the Chou stopped to reload, Chang hit him with a chair while others grabbed his gun and hog-tied him with electrical cords.
“It was amazing how brave [Chang] and the others were,” Chen said. “This is just so sad. I never, ever thought something like this would happen in my church, in my community.”
Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said the parishioners “displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect.”
“They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities,” Hallock said. “I think it’s safe to say that had people not intervened, it could have been much worse.”
Authorities said Pastor Chang, who served the church for 20 years, was a true hero who saved many lives by sacrificing his own.