Heroic doctor killed in mass shooting at California church was from Texas

Deborah Kipers, a patient of shooting victim Dr. John Cheng, talks about him outside his office in Aliso Viejo, CA, on Monday, May 16, 2022. Cheng was killed in a shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on May 15. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Deborah Kipers, a patient of shooting victim Dr. John Cheng, talks about him outside his office in Aliso Viejo, CA, on Monday, May 16, 2022. Cheng was killed in a shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on May 15. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

MediaNews Group/Orange County Re/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The heroic doctor who was killed while confronting an active shooter inside a California church was from East Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News. Dr. John Cheng, 52, graduated from Marshall High School in 1987, near the Louisiana border, and later graduated from Baylor University in 1991. He also attended medical school at Texas Tech School of Medicine. 

Cheng was killed trying to save his mother after a man began shooting at the congregates – most of them elderly and Taiwanese – at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on Sunday, May 15. Five others were injured in the shooting.

The shooter, David Wenwei Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, appeared to be motivated by political hatred targeted at the Taiwanese community, Orange County sheriff’s officials said. Chou was arrested and charged with one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder. He is being held on a $1 million bail, according to Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun. 

“Dr. Cheng is a hero in this incident, based on statements from the witnesses and corroborated by other means,” Braun told the Los Angeles Times. “It is known that Dr. Cheng charged the individual (the shooter) and attempted to disarm him, which allowed other parishioners to then intercede.”

After Cheng was shot, the visiting pastor, Billy Chang, struck Chou with a chair when his weapon jammed, according to police and witnesses. Cheng’s charge at the shooter helped save many more lives, Braun said.

The wounded were four men ages 66, 92, 82, and 75, and an 86-year-old woman. They have not yet been identified.

Cheng is survived by his wife and two children. 

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