One person has been killed and five others have been shot at a church in Laguna Woods, in southern California on Sunday afternoon.
Six people were struck by gunfire after an Asian male shooter, said to be in his 60s, opened fire.
About 40 people witnessed the violence but congregants who were present also helped to prevent further bloodshed by overpowering the shooter and managing to hog-tie him until police arrived on the scene.
One of those who was struck suffered fatal wounds and died at the scene at Geneva Presbyterian Church in the small city of Laguna Woods.
Four of the other victims are said to be critically wounded while a fifth suffered minor injuries.
The majority of those inside the church were believed to be of Taiwanese descent and had gathered to honor a former pastor of the church for which a lunch reception was being held after Sunday morning’s service.
There was no word on a possible motive for the shooting which took place in Simpson Hall rather than the main auditorium where services are held.
Most of those in the building were Taiwanese or of Taiwanese descent.
Investigators were looking at many factors, including whether the bloodshed could be a hate crime and whether the gunman was known to the church community.
‘The Presbytery of Los Ranchos is deeply saddened by a fatal shooting that occurred at a lunch reception honoring a former pastor of the Taiwanese congregation that nests at Geneva Presbyterian Church inLaguna Woods.
‘Initial reports indicate that one person was killed, and several others were severely injured. Please keep the leadership of the Taiwanese congregation and Geneva in your prayers as they care for the those traumatized by this shooting. In your mercy, O Lord, we pray.’ a statement from the diocese read.
Orange County Fire Authority said it was on the scene treating victims and taking a number of people to hospital shortly before 1:25pm on Sunday afternoon. All of the victims were adults.
The city of 18,000 consists of Laguna Woods Village, a retirement community for people 55 and older once known as Leisure World.
More than 80% of residents in the city about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles are at least 65-year-old.
A number of people have been shot at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods
Investigators gather outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday after a fatal shooting
All manner of emergency vehicles could be seen outsider the church on Sunday afternoon
Undersheriff Jeff Hallock is pictured speaking to members of the media following the Sunday shooting
The Orange County Sheriff gave details of what was unfolding on Sunday afternoon on Twitter
The shooting happened in the small city of Laguna Woods, about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles
The shooting occurred at around 1:25pm on Sunday in the retirement community of Laguna Woods
Multiple victims have been shot. More details to follow, PIO en route,’ the Orange County Sheriff wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
Minutes after their initial reports, the department reported that one person had been detained, and that deputies had recovered a gun that may have been involved in the shooting.
Paramedics with Orange County Fire Authority were working to treat victims at the scene and transport those who required further care to area hospitals.
Special agents with the Los Angeles branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were said to be en route to assist with the investigation.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said on Twitter that he was closely monitoring the situation.
‘No one should have to fear going to their place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims, community, and all those impacted by this tragic event,’ the tweet said.
‘This is upsetting and disturbing news, especially less than a day after a mass shooting in Buffalo,’ said U.S. Rep Katie Porter, whose district includes Laguna Woods. ‘This should not be our new normal. I will work hard to support the victims and their families.’
The incident occurred in an area with a cluster of houses of worship, including Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist churches and a Jewish synagogue.
On its website, Geneva Presbyterian Church describes its mission as ‘to remember, tell, and live the way of Jesus by being just, kind, and humble.’
‘All are welcome here. Really, we mean that! … Geneva aspires to be an inclusive congregation worshipping, learning, connecting, giving and serving together.’
Sandria Chou stands in front of police tape waiting for her parents following a shooting that took place on Sunday
Police cars are seen after a deadly shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California
Police tape is seen after a shooting inside Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California
The Geneva Presbyterian Church is pictured after a deadly shooting, in Laguna Woods, California
Law enforcement officers are seen after a deadly shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California
A number of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances could be seen on scene outside the church
A firetruck is seen outside the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods
A passing driver captured images of a number of a fire engines that were on site following the shooting
A helicopter could be seen racing towards the scene on footage shared on Facebook
One person caught in traffic close to the church tweeted a picture of the scene on Sunday lunchtime
Authorities urged the public to avoid the area as El Toro Road was closed between Calle Sonora and Canyon Wren as the investigation continued.
It was at least the second mass shooting of the weekend in the United States, which has been plagued with gun violence in recent years.
On Saturday a white supremacist killed 10 people during a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo.
Payton Gendron, 18, is alleged to have shot upwards of 13 people, the majority of whom were black.
Authorities say they suspect it was a racially-driven attack.
The shooter is also believed to have livestreamed the rampage. Gendron pled not guilty to first-degree murder.
He’s due back in court on Thursday, and is currently on suicide watch.
Police tape lines the sidewalk outside of Geneva Presbyterian Church, the site of a shooting that took place in the early afternoon in Laguna Woods
Police tape lines the sidewalk outside of Geneva Presbyterian Church, the site of a shooting on Sunday afternoon
The Geneva Presbyterian Church at 24301 El Toro Rd, Laguna Woods, California is pictured on the church’s Facebook page.
A file photo of how the church normally looks, as pictured from its Facebook page