Cheng’s co-workers at South Coast Medical Group, which he co-founded, describe him as a dedicated family man and physician. “He was a protector, and that’s exactly what he did,” says Johanna Gherardini, the group’s executive director.
On Monday, Cleveland Browns fullback Johnny Stanton tweeted: “I just found out the person killed in the Laguna Woods shooting yesterday was my primary care physician, Dr. John Cheng. Absolute hero. He attacked the gunman and helped save so many in that church. I just wanted his name to be known. He will be missed.”
Dr. Cheng also volunteered at a local high school, serving as team doctor for the football team. In a statement, Aliso Niguel High School calls him “a great man, a proud father, husband, and always genuine. He always had a smile on his face.”
According to reports, Cheng brought his mother to the Taiwanese church Sunday for the first time since his father died last month. In Taiwan, the Presbyterian denomination is one of the most prominent Christian groups and has advocated for democracy and for Taiwanese independence.
Though police have identified the alleged gunman, it is the policy of ChurchLeaders not to name assailants in mass shootings/active shooter situations in an effort not to give assailants increased airtime.