One month after Orange County church shooting, pastor reacts to shooting – NBC Los Angeles
Wednesday marks a month since a gunman opened fire on the campus of the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.
The shooter killed one and injured five others that day, and now, for the first time, senior pastor Reverend Steven Marsh says his congregation welcomes everyone.
“Anyone. Anyone,” Marsh said. “I don’t care who comes in. If they want to come in, it’s our job to say ‘Yes’.”
The Reverend said that was exactly why they invited Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian to share their campus over a decade ago.
“Why? Because we’re Christians. We all believe in Jesus. But we really love being together,” Pastor Marsh said. “We’re partners in this mission. Yeah, they’re family.
The Taiwanese congregation in Irvine is also welcoming, but sadly last month they welcomed a man ready to kill.
“His presence on this campus was a violation of everything we believe in,” Marsh said.
On May 15, according to police, David Chou attended a church service and then joined the group afterwards in the chapel. Police said Chou, a Chinese immigrant from Las Vegas, targeted the Taiwanese congregation, frustrated by political tensions between China and Taiwan.
An Orange County community mourns the death of a doctor who responded to a Sunday shooting at a church in Laguna Woods. Robert Kovacik reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. May 16, 2022.
He brought guns and Molotov cocktails to the church.
“He was ready to kill everyone in that room and, with Molotov cocktails, burn down as much of this campus as he could,” Marsh said.
Using nails and chains, police said Chou trapped worshipers in the social hall and towards the end of lunch he began shooting. Laguna Niguel Dr. John Cheng died that day. Cheng attempted to tackle the shooter as he opened fire.
“If Dr. Cheng hadn’t done what he did, there would have been almost a slaughter of everyone in that room,” Marsh said. “He was fully aware of what was going to happen, and he went straight to the shooter and fired several times.”
Cheng left behind a wife and two children.
“There is a verse in the Bible that says there is no greater love for a person than to lay down your life for others,” Marsh said. “That’s what Dr. Cheng did.”
Now, after shootings in Orange County, Buffalo and Uvalde, Marsh thinks politicians need to step in.
“It’s time for all of you to put aside everything you’re doing and do your best. You can’t stop all the killings, but you can definitely put more laws in place that will help,” Marsh said. “They all need to understand that this is no longer about your job, this is about leading in our country. You are here to serve the people.
And while Marsh thinks the laws need to change, some things will stay the same. Like the church’s commitment to inclusion.
“All are welcome here. Really,” Marsh said. “Anyone is welcome.”