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1 dead, 5 injured, man arrested in shooting at California Asian church reception

Congregation members grabbed and hogtied the man, whom Orange County authorities described as being of Asian descent and in his 60s.
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One person was killed and five other people were injured in a shooting at a meeting of Asian churchgoers in Southern California on Sunday, authorities said.

Members of the congregation detained a suspect who appeared to be in his 60s by hogtying him with electrical extension cords, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said at an earlier press conference that congregants confiscated at least two handguns that were later seized by deputies.

The department Sunday night announced the man has been formally arrested in connection with the deadly attack. His name will be released when he's booked into jail, it said in a statement.

Amid fears of another possible hate crime, the man in custody was described by law enforcement sources as also being of Asian descent. The description was later confirmed by Hallock.

Sheriff’s officials said as many as 40 people who belong to a Taiwanese church were at the facility when gunfire broke out.

The gunfire was reported at Geneva Presbyterian Church at 1:26 p.m. in the retirement city of Laguna Woods, about 20 miles southeast of Anaheim, the sheriff's department said. Four victims suffered critical injuries, it said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Sunday night identified the injured as Asian Americans ranging in age from 66 to 92. Four are men. The identity of the deceased was being withheld pending notification of loved ones.

The victim's body was discovered at the scene, sheriff's officials said. All of the surviving victims, including a person with minor injuries, were hospitalized.

Sheriff's officials said as many as 40 people who belong to a Taiwanese church were at the facility when gunfire broke out.

Police sources who described the suspect as Asian stressed that the investigation was in its very preliminary stages and that they have not determined any motive.

Hallock acknowledged concerns over rising hate crime but urged people to await more information as the inquiry continued Sunday night.

He praised the quick actions of the congregation.

"They undoubtedly prevented additional injuries and fatalities," Hallock said. "It appears that one or more of the congregants did act quite heroically."

Investigators were still trying to determine where the man in custody resides and whether he has any relationship to the congregation or the facility. "No information on age or date of birth," Hallock said.

It does not appear that anyone else is wanted, the sources said earlier. Detectives hope serial numbers on the firearms might help them find out more about the suspect, officials said.

Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, a name that refers to a nearby city, was scheduled to meet at the facility at 10 a.m., according to its website.

Tom Cramer, a co-executive at a network of Orange County Presbyterian churches, the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, said the violence took place during a luncheon honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation.

The organization "is deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a lunch reception," he said in a statement. "Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for the those traumatized by this shooting."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents based in Los Angeles were assisting sheriff's investigators. The FBI also responded and is contributing to the investigation, the sheriff's department said Sunday night.

Laguna Woods and Laguna Woods Village are relatively exclusive communities for people 55 and older and their companions or loved ones. Large parts of it, including the village, are gated.

The city is composed of single-family homes, town houses and apartment-style residences. It opened as Leisure World in 1964. It became the county's 32nd city in 1999.

Authorities asked people to avoid the area, noting that multiple roads were closed.

On Friday police in Dallas said they were looking for a person who might be targeting people of Asian background in a series of shootings. The last of three such attacks injured three women from South Korea, officials said.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia said the department's inquiry was a hate crime investigation. Attacks against Asian Americans have skyrocketed in recent years.