US Coins

Medal sought for 2022 California church attack hero

Dr. John Cheng was killed May 15, 2022 trying to disarm a gunman during a mass shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California.

Image of Dr. John Cheng from Facebook; church image courtesy of Geneva Presbyterian Church.

House legislation seeks a congressional gold medal posthumously to Dr. John Cheng, “a hero who died protecting others on May 15, 2022.”

H.R. 3588 was introduced May 22 by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., before being referred to the House Financial Services Committee for further consideration.

Cheng, 52, a renowned family and sports medicine physician, was the lone person killed during a mass shooting at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California, where a Taiwanese congregation held services. Five others were wounded by gunfire — and if not for Cheng’s efforts, according to authorities, the bloodshed could have been considerably higher, the legislation states.

Churchgoers were attending a lunch reception to celebrate a Taiwanese pastor’s return from a mission trip in Taiwan when the gunman, David Chou, entered the church and opened fire with a handgun.

Dr. Cheng had accompanied his elderly mother to the reception. Dr. Cheng rushed the gunman, tackling him to the floor as others moved to assist in securing the shooter for authorities. Dr. Cheng was mortally wounded from multiple gunshots.

Should authorizing legislation be approved for the gold medal recognizing Dr. Cheng, the Treasury secretary has the authority to direct the United States to strike 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicate medals bearing the designs identical to the gold version.

The cost to produce a single congressional gold medal exceeds $30,000.

The bronze duplicates would become a permanent part of the U.S. Mint’s medallic offerings.

Currently, the U.S. Mint retails 1.5-inch bronze duplicates for $20 each and the 3-inch versions for $160 each.

Both bronze versions would be executed with a Matte Finish and composed of one of two alloys — 90% copper and 10% zinc, or 95% copper and 5% zinc.

Bronze duplicates of congressional gold medals are struck at the Philadelphia Mint sans the facility’s P Mint mark.

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