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Heroic doctor, Baylor alum remembered by loved ones after being killed in attack on California church

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Dr. John Cheng, who graduated from Baylor in 1991 and went on to become a highly regarded sports physician, was killed after he confronted an active shooter inside a church in California on Sunday.

The gunman wounded five other people, but authorities and witnesses say Cheng’s actions saved dozens of lives and the slain doctor is now being hailed a hero.

The Orange County Sheriff says Cheng charged the suspect and attempted to disarm him while others were able to jump in.

”Without the actions of Dr. Cheng, it is no doubt that there would be numerous additional victims in this crime,” Sheriff Don Barnes said.

Friends of Dr. Cheng said he had a giving nature and a certain commitment in all he did.

“He was a black belt and kungfu, he was a committed Christian, he had very varied interests but he was sincere in everything that he did,” Dr. Stephen Sloan said.

Dr. Stephen Sloan has known Dr. Cheng since 1988 when they met through their fraternity at Baylor.

He says when he heard about the shooting in California, it was devastating, but the one thing that came as no surprise is that dr. Cheng gave his life fighting to save others when he charged the gunman.

“He’s a hero,” Sloan said. “He undoubtedly saved lives and that’s what John would have wanted. It is not a surprise to me that John led the charge to save others.”

Sloan says Dr. Cheng will be missed by his family, friends, patients, and community, but he says everyone is able to be inspired by his actions.

“The Lord could have been preparing him for this because of the training and hours he has put into self-defense and the artistry in which he pursued that,” Sloan said. “It all came together on that one day and he was able to use it to protect others.”

Sloan is currently the faculty sponsor for the fraternity Kappa Omega Tau, the same fraternity he knew Dr. Cheng through, and he says while the current members did not know him, they are inspired by what their brother did and feel a sense of loss.

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