California authorities identify Laguna Woods church shooting victim, motive

Cheng leaves behind a wife and two children

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Authorities identified 52-year-old physician John Cheng as the victim of California church shooting that officials are describing as a "politically motived hate incident."

"Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, there is no doubt there would be numerous other deaths," the OC Sheriff's Department said of Cheng on Monday. 

California church shooting victim identified as John Cheng (Fox 11)

California church shooting victim identified as John Cheng (Fox 11) (FOX 11)

The 52-year-old physician charged at the shooter Sunday as the assailant opened fire on about 40 people gathered at the Geneva Presbyterian Church, which allowed for other churchgoers to hogtie the suspect before police arrived. 

Cheng, of Laguna Niguel, leaves behind a wife and two children, Fox 11 reported. 

Police have identified 68-year-old David Chou, of Las Vegas, as the suspected shooter behind the attack. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday that the shooting was a "politically motivated hate incident."

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"This was a politically motivated hate incident, a grievance that this individual had between himself and the Taiwanese community," Barnes said.

"Evidence was collected linking him to this crime based on preliminary information in the investigation, it is believed the suspect involved was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan," he added. 

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The FBI opened a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Five people were injured in the shooting. They have only been identified as four Asian men, ages 66, 75, 82 and 92, and an 86-year-old Asian woman. 

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The congregation is composed of mostly elderly, retired Taiwanese immigrants, with an average age of 80.