Community Mourns Heroic Death of John Cheng in California Church Shooting


John Cheng, 52, a family practice physician with South Bay Medical Group in Aliso Viejo, was shot to death after—what all are calling—a selfless, heroic act at a mass shooting on Sunday, May 15, at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California.

The shooting, which killed one and injured five during a lunch gathering after a Taiwanese service, was “politically motivated” by tensions between China and Taiwan, officials said. Dr. Cheng was killed when he charged at the gunman and attempted to disarm him.

Orange County officials and residents have hailed Cheng as a hero for his selfless actions.

“Dr. Cheng is a hero in this incident,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said on May 16 during a press conference.

Barnes said Cheng’s actions bought time for other parishioners to subdue the suspect and eventually hogtie him with an extension cord.

“Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, there is no doubt there would be additional victims in this crime,” Barnes said.

“Dr. Cheng was my doctor. Have known him for years. It does not surprise that he was a hero. That is who he was every day. A wonderful, smiling, friendly man with a darling family. Heartbroken,” Carol Schumacher Hayden said in a public comment on the “Residents of Laguna Hills in the O.C.” Facebook group page.

Cheng came from a family of physicians.

Through his father’s example, he learned to care about his patients and create a sense of community.

His father cared for patients in a small community in East Texas, where Cheng has said they rallied around him and embraced him as their doctor.

Cheng received medical training at the Kaiser Permanente/UCLA Family Practice Program in Los Angeles.

He specialized in sports medicine and received advanced training at the Kaiser Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and Sports Clinic in Riverside, California.

During his fellowship, he served as the team physician for the University of California–Riverside and California Baptist University for men’s and women’s baseball, soccer, track & field, and volleyball teams.

Cheng’s colleagues referred to him as a “pillar of support.”

He trained in martial arts for over 20 years and would often educate other practitioners on the importance of properly training and quickly recovering from injuries.

He took pride in listening to his patients to understand their needs and goals.

“Each individual patient that comes in our doors is that somehow we can touch their lives for the better,” Cheng said in an introduction video posted on South Coast Medical Group website.

“We’re planting seeds in this person’s heart and in their mind on how to take care of themselves,” he said. “And when they’re taking care of themselves, and they’re able to take care of their family—which creates a more positive family environment—[it] translates into better communities.”

He is survived by his wife and two children.

The Christ Our Redeemer Church in Irvine held a prayer vigil at 5:30 p.m. on May 16 for the victims of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Laguna Woods.

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Brandon Drey is a California-based reporter for The Epoch Times.



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