Man accused of carrying out California church shooting pleads not guilty

David Chou has been charged with killing one person and wounding five at Presbyterian church meeting in Laguna Woods

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A Las Vegas, Nevada, man pleaded not guilty in a California court on Friday after being accused of killing one person and wounding five others in a shooting at a Taiwanese Presbyterian church meeting.

David Chou was ordered to be held without bail by Orange County Superior Court Judge Cynthia M Herrera.

David Chou, accused of carrying out a shooting rampage at a Laguna Woods church, makes his first in-person appearance in court in Santa Ana, California. AP

Mr Chou has been charged with murder with an enhancement for a hate crime in the killing of a 52-year-old doctor who tried to stop the attack on a May lunch gathering of largely older members of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church.

He is also charged with five counts of attempted murder.

Authorities have said Mr Chou was motivated to attack the gathering of churchgoers in Laguna Woods due to hatred of Taiwan that stemmed from the years he lived on the island as a boy after his family was forced to leave mainland China.

During his arraignment, Mr Chou appeared in a caged section of the courtroom wearing thick glasses, a face mask and yellow jail jumpsuit.

Mr Chou spoke with the assistance of a Mandarin interpreter using a headset.

At times, he told the judge in English he couldn’t hear through the headset and was unsure what she wanted him to do. She repeated her questions, which the interpreter relayed and he responded through the interpreter.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment after the hearing and so did Mr Chou’s lawyer.

He is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on October 21.

Updated: August 19, 2022, 10:37 PM