1 dead and 4 seriously injured in California church shooting

One person was killed and four others seriously injured after a gunman opened fire at a Southern California church on Sunday, authorities said.

The shooter was arrested outside the Presbyterian Church of Geneva in Laguna Woods, Calif., said Carrie Braun, spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear, she said.

Four of the victims were in critical condition, she said, and another victim was being treated for minor injuries. The person who was killed was found inside the church by authorities, she said. Ms Braun did not share any additional details about the victims.

“My understanding is that this all happened inside the church building,” Ms Braun said. “We’re trying to figure out what kind of service was going on at the time.”

The Department mentioned that officials had recovered a weapon that may have been involved in the shooting, which was reported at 1:26 p.m. local time. The city of Laguna Woods, incorporated in 1999, is about 80 km southeast of Los Angeles.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials said during a press conference that there were a large number of Taiwanese worshipers inside the church, but did not say whether they were the targets of the attack.

Cynthia Conners, the acting mayor of Laguna Woods, said Sunday that she was a member of the church and attended services that morning. She said a Taiwanese congregation shares church space and “is more likely to be on that campus later in the day.”

Ms Conners said she left the church around noon and Taiwanese members usually left a little later in the afternoon.

Charlotte Hsieh, the church organist, said she left the church around noon after services had ended. “We have our fingers crossed for the safety of the congregation,” she said.

Ms Hsieh said the church is in a quiet retirement community in a safe neighborhood.

“I couldn’t even imagine something like this could happen here,” she said. “I’m as shocked as anyone.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said on Twitter that he was helping with the investigation.

The California governor’s office said the Twitter that “no one should be afraid to go to their place of worship”.

“Our thoughts are with the victims, the community and all those affected by this tragic event,” the office said.

Katie Porter, a Democratic congresswoman who represents Orange County, called the news disturbing, especially given the shooting in Buffalo, NY, on Saturday. “This shouldn’t be our new normal,” Ms Porter said.

Vimal Patel and Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed report.

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