A Chinese-born activist has been booked for attempted murder over a shooting at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles after a human rights protest there, police said on Friday. Jeff Baoliang Zhang (張保良), a 67-year-old originally from Shanghai, turned himself in to police a few hours after Thursday’s shooting, which left a number of bullet holes in the front of the consulate.
“A lone gunman fired several shots at the local Chinese consulate after participating in a protest at the location earlier in the day,” the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said in a statement. “Acting independently from the other protesters, he opened fire on the consulate building and then drove away in his car.”
The LAPD said it appeared the suspect was acting alone.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a protester fired nine shots at a security guard outside the consulate, following an altercation with him, missing his target and hitting a building in the compound instead.
Zhang, who has apparently become a naturalized US citizen and now lives in Las Vegas, turned himself in at a nearby police station about three hours after the shooting.
“Police ... confiscated his weapon, a 9mm handgun, and booked him for attempted murder,” the newspaper said, adding that bail had been set at US$100,000, and Zhang was being held at a downtown LAPD detention center.
The security guard involved, Cipriano Gutierrez, said he feared for his life in the shooting, which occurred when about 20 people were inside the consular building.
“I hit the ground and I was praying,” he said according to the local CBS affiliate TV station. “I grabbed phone books and put them over my head. A bullet came in the room right next to my knee.”
Zhang, a Chinese-American, is the author of a book entitled Accusing the American Judicial System of Rampant Corruption, according to a Chinese activist leader in Los Angeles, Ann Lau (劉雅雅).
He was an English and tourism teacher for the Department of Tour Guides and Interpreters at the Shanghai Institute of Tourism before moving to the US in 1986, according to the resume linked to his book on retail Web site Amazon.
He studied at New York University and obtained a doctorate in 1996, while also studying for two years on an MBA program at the university’s Graduate School for Business, it said.
Lau added that she was not at Thursday’s protest, but that during a regular protest outside the Chinese consulate last weekend, a security guard had appeared less tolerant than previously.
She was leading about 100 protesters along the sidewalk in front of the building last Saturday, when a security guard only let them pass at the last minute, which was unusual.