The gunman who opened fire at a Southern California Taiwanese church on Sunday sent a seven-volume diary to the Los Angeles offices of the World Journal before the attack, a lawyer for the Chinese-language newspaper said.
David Wenwei Chou, the 68-year-old suspect, mailed a flash drive and seven photocopied volumes titled “Diary of an Angel Destroying Independence” that were handwritten in Chinese and secured with binder clips.
The title appears to reference the self-governance of Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party has declared is a part of China and belongs under Chinese rule.
The documents were received by the World Journal on Tuesday morning with Chou’s name and an address from his hometown in Las Vegas written on the mailing label.
The newspaper said it will not be printing the diary’s contents. No one from the World Journal apparently read through the documents before sending them to Maxwell Lin, a lawyer for the paper.
Investigators have been made aware of the documents. Lin said the World Journal had no intention of withholding the documents and that the diary pages will be shared with law enforcement once he receives a subpoena.
Chou reportedly drove to California from Las Vegas and socialized with some of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church’s members for about an hour before opening fire during a lunch banquet. The shooting left five wounded and one doctor dead on Sunday.
The killing has been described as “a politically motivated hate incident” by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. Investigators reportedly found notes in Chou’s car that showed his “hatred of the Taiwanese people.” His motive was influenced by anger over the political tensions between China and Taiwan, according to the authorities.
Chou was born in Taiwan in 1953 and is an American citizen. Authorities learned that his family was among the people forced to flee mainland China when communists took over. Some of the mainlanders reportedly lived in slums and were bullied.
Chou is currently booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder. He is being held on a $1 million bail at the Orange County Intake Release Center.
Members of the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church (ITPC) have launched a GoFundMe for families of the victims and to support the church.
“We are heartbroken by the senseless violence and are reaching out to the internet for help,” the church members wrote. “Our small Taiwanese congregation has put out love and kindness into the surrounding community for generations. During this time, our church, the victims, and their families need to focus on recovering from this tragedy. Please help us by giving to this campaign, of which 100% of the proceeds will go to ITPC and the families of the victims to aid in their journey of healing.”