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Morning Brief: The Laguna Woods Shooting, Nursing Home Licenses, And Bike To Work Week

Yellow caution tape stretches along a stucco wall next to the parking lot. The church building is visible beyond it.
Geneva Presbyterian Church
(Jill Replogle
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Good morning, L.A. It’s May 17.

On Sunday, Dr. John Cheng was killed while attempting to disarm a gunman who entered a Laguna Woods church. Four others were critically injured.

David Chou, a 68-year-old man from Las Vegas, is being held in connection with the mass shooting.

Chou was reportedly in a downward spiral physically and emotionally after being attacked several years ago. 

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The shooting targeted a Taiwanese American church in south Orange County. Chou “was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan” and had left notes in his car that indicated “his real hatred of the Taiwanese people,” according to the O.C. Sheriff. 

Law enforcement officials aren’t providing information about why Chou bypassed other Taiwanese churches on his way to O.C., reports my colleague Josie Huang. But Lev Nachman, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Fairbanks Center For China Studies, said among Taiwanese Americans, the Presbyterian Church is known for supporting the pro-Taiwan independence movement.

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That movement is in direct opposition to China’s contention that Taiwan is a renegade province that needs to be returned to the mainland.

“When Taiwanese began to flee to the United States,” Nachman said, “Taiwanese Presbyterian churches became these community centers for the independence cause in the United States.” 

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The Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church lunch was attended by between 30 and 40 people, and held at Geneva Presbyterian Church. Those who were shot were between the ages of 52 and 92. Authorities are unaware of any direct connection between the alleged shooter and members of the congregation.

The FBI is opening a federal hate crime investigation into the attack.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Advocates say Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised budget won’t do enough to keep vulnerable Californians out of poverty.
  • Some California lawmakers want to require nursing home owners to have licenses, and to reject applicants with poor performance and those without adequate experience or financial resources. The ambitious effort could make California’s oversight the gold standard.
  • The USO is providing video services to keep U.S. troops connected to loved ones back home.
  • An infusion of spinal fluid from young mice reversed the memory loss typically seen in aging mice, according to a study published in the journal Nature
  • A non-profit research group is releasing a ratings tool that shows the wildfire risk for properties, and how that risk will change as the climate gets hotter.

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: Bike To Work Week

It's bike to work week so tune up those two wheelers and explore SoCal.
("CicLAvia throng on Spring Street" by ubrayj02 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)
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It’s Bike to Work Week, and Metrolink will reward riders who bring their bikes aboard the train with free fare. One free ride per bike, and cyclists must be with their bike for the entire trip. The free rides on Metrolink are not eligible for refunds or free transfers to any other bus or rail operator.

Not set up for a week on two wheels? You could: Catch Helado Negro performing live. Watch a free outdoor screening of Jurassic Park. Learn from Neil deGrasse Tyson. Listen to stories of 1960s L.A. through the marriage of Dennis Hopper and Brooke Hayward. Laugh along at a comedy benefit for the Wonderland School. And more.

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