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A week after a gunman opened fire, worshipers return to Taiwanese church

Jeong Park, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In a short speech to the congregation, Hsiao pledged the Taiwanese government's support.

"Our hearts are with the members and the wounded members of the community," Hsiao said after the service. "We condemn such violence, and our work has always been to build democracy where people can express differences in peaceful ways."

A choir of about 20 elderly men and women packed tightly together in front of the pulpit, their voices booming even without microphones.

After singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful," the churchgoers read a verse from the book of Hebrews: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

John Cheng, a 52-year-old doctor, died from gunshot wounds after he tackled Chou. Cheng was not a regular member but was accompanying his mother to the luncheon in honor of the church's former pastor, Billy Chang.

Chang then hit Chou with a chair and hogtied him with the help of others at the luncheon.


"I can only feel at that very moment, the glorious moment when Dr. Cheng chose to take on the shooter, defending the rest of the church fellows, he must be the angel sent by God," Lee said as he led a prayer, his voice rising.

An elderly worship leader wiped away tears as a photo of Cheng lit up a screen.

"He deeply believed in God, because God is trustworthy, so Dr. Cheng also made himself trustworthy in defending the church," Lee said.

Peggy Huang, a Yorba Linda councilwoman whose parents are members of the congregation, said Lee's sermon was reassuring.


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