UPDATED 5/16, 9:30 a.m. ET: Authorities investigating the shooting at a Laguna Woods church on Sunday said the gunman was restrained by several congregants.
In a press conference hosted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Sunday, Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said churchgoers were able to stop further bloodshed when they hogtied the suspect, who has been described as an Asian man in his ‘60s.
"We believe a group churchgoers detained him and hogtied his legs with an extension cord and confiscated at least two weapons from him," said Hallock. "That group of churchgoers displayed what we believe is exceptional heroism and bravery in intervening to stop the suspect. They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities. … It’s safe to say that had people not intervened, it could have been much worse. There were 30 to 40 people inside the church."
Hallock added that it’s unclear if the suspect is connected to the church in any way. “At this time we do not know what the suspect’s motive may be or whether he had an intended target or whether this is even a hate-related incident,” he said.
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One person has died after multiple people have been shot at a Laguna Woods church, NBC Los Angeles reports. The suspect is now in custody after being detained at the scene, per the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities report that they were alerted to the shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church after a 1:26 p.m. call, and that one person was dead at the scene, and 4 adult victims were critically wounded, one with minor injuries.
#OCSDPIO Deputies are responding to reports of a shooting at a church on the 24000 block of El Toro Road in Laguna Woods. Multiple victims have been shot. More details to follow, PIO en route.
The OCSD has also recovered a gun that may have been used in the incident.
We are working to get information out as quickly as possible. We ask for patience as this event unfolds.
“We are working to get information out as quickly as possible,” the department tweeted. “We ask for patience as this event unfolds.”
As ABC 7 reports, people are being treated for injuries by firefighters and paramedics who rushed to the scene and information on the shooter has yet to be released.