Hero doctor, a 52-year-old father of 2, died while saving others during the Laguna Woods church shooting
A sports medicine doctor who was killed during Sunday's mass shooting at a church in California's Laguna Woods is being hailed a hero after he tackled the gunman to the ground.
Dr. John Cheng, a 52-year-old father of two, had gone straight for the suspect — identified as Chinese-American dual national David Chou — but was fatally shot in the process, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a press conference on Monday.
"It is known that Dr. Cheng charged the suspect, attempted to disarm him, which allowed other parishioners to then intercede, taking the suspect into custody," he said. "Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, there is no doubt there would be numerous additional victims in this crime."
The shooting also left five people injured, including four victims — aged between 66 and 92 — who were critically wounded.
According to Dr. Cheng's bio on the website of his employer, South Coast Medical Group, he had a "lifelong love" for martial arts and was an accomplished martial arts instructor.
"He was adamant that everybody should know how to defend themselves," the medical group's executive director Johanna Gherardini said, per ABC7 News. "I 100% know exactly — when they had said that he gone across the room and charged him. I can see him doing that."
Cleveland Browns fullback Johnny Stanton tweeted that Dr. Cheng was his primary care physician. "Absolute hero. He attacked the gunman and helped save so many in that church. I just wanted his name to be known. He will be missed," Stanton wrote.
The shooting took place at around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Orange County, about 50 miles from Los Angeles. More than 50 people in the congregation at the time were on a mission trip from Taiwan, per reports.
According to Barnes, the suspect had been motivated by a "hatred for the Taiwanese people."
"I believe his hatred of Taiwan manifested when he was residing there in previous years, possibly in his youth. He was not well received, from what we believe and what we collected so far and that has manifested into this hatred," he said.