The elderly gunman who allegedly shot and killed a doctor and wounded five others during a meeting of Taiwanese churchgoers in Laguna Woods, California has been charged with murder.

David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas faces one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder and added charge for “lying in wait”, as well as four counts of possessing destructive devices with intent to kill or harm, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said on Tuesday, May 17.

He will be eligible for the death penalty for attempting to “execute in cold blood as many people in that room as possible” during the mass shooting, prosecutors said in a statement.

Chou opened fire in the Geneva Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 15, during a lunch reception to honor a former pastor of a Taiwanese congregation, according to Tom Cramer, a presbytery leader. 

He walked into the church with two 9 mm handguns, that the shooter legally owned, and three bags, containing four Molotov-cocktail-type incendiary devices and extra ammunition, authorities said. He then chained the doors and sealed the keyholes with superglue before opening fire at the worshippers.

Chou was detained after a group of people at the church managed to hogtie his legs with an electrical extension cord and confiscate at least two handguns from him, 

A local physician, 52-year-old Dr John Cheng was killed and five other people were wounded in the shooting – an 86-year-old woman as well as four men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92 – the sheriff’s department said.

“Dr. Cheng is a hero,”  Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said at a press conference, Tuesday. “It is known that Dr. Cheng charged the individual, the suspect, attempted to disarm him, which allowed other parishioners to then intercede, taking the suspect into custody.”

“This is not a case that I’m ruling out for death.”

“We typically think of the person who hides in the bushes,” Spitzer said. “This case is about the person concealing themselves in plain view.”

Authorities said, Chou, a US citizen who grew up in Taiwan, was motivated by hatred of Taiwanese people. The FBI has now opened a federal hate crimes investigation regarding the shooting.

“While there’s very strong evidence right now that this was motivated by hate, we want to make sure we have put together all the evidence that confirms that theory in the case,” Spitzer said.

“He did everything he could to fit in, to make himself one of them,” Spitzer said.

“That population in general created a vulnerable environment for him to carry out what I think was his ultimate goal, which was to execute in cold blood as many people in that room as possible,” Spitzer said.

David Chou David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas faces one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder and added charge for “lying in wait”, as well as four counts of possessing destructive devices with intent to kill or harm Orange County Sheriff's Department via AP Photo.