Here's What We Know About The Shooting At The California Synagogue

by Thea Glassman

A man opened fire in a California synagogue, killing and injuring congregants

Another horrific, heartbreaking hate crime has been committed against the Jewish community. On Saturday, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California and opened fire on the congregants. One woman was killed and others were injured during the attack.

Members of the Chabad of Poway temple were attending Passover services when a man began shooting with an AR-style assault weapon. He killed 60-year-old Lori Kaye and injured three others, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who will likely lose his right index finger as a result. The suspect, who authorities said is 19-year-old John Earnest, called the police to tell them that he was “just involved in this shooting” and gave his location, according to USA Today.

The cops spotted his car, pulled him over, and arrested him.

The suspect had posted an anti-Semitic message online an hour before the shooting, according to AP News. He wrote some sickening words against the community, sending praise to the men who carried out the shootings at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and the mosque in New Zealand.

We’re starting to hear stories about what happened inside the synagogue, including the incredible act of bravery that Kaye committed before she was killed. According to her friend Roneet Lev, Kaye jumped in front of Rabbi Goldstein to protect him.

“She didn’t die a senseless death,” Lev told CNN. “She died advertising the problem we have with anti-Semitism and to bring good to this world … If God put an angel on this planet, it would have been Lori.”

Image via SANDY HUFFAKER/Getty

AFP/Getty Images

Image via Getty/SANDY HUFFAKER

AFP/Getty Images

Image via SANDY HUFFAKER/Getty

AFP/Getty Images

Incredibly, the rabbi continued to preach a message of kindness even after he was shot in the finger, according to congregation member Minoo Anvari.

“Rabbi said, ‘We are united,'” she told CNN. “This is something bad (that) is happening all over. And we have to believe that this bad thing is real and we don’t have to ignore it. We have to open our eyes. He prayed for peace. I respect him — even in spite of being injured he refused to go to hospital and he spoke. And he finished his speech and he then left the synagogue.”

Despite this horrific, terrifying act of targeted violence, there’s still messages of positivity and hope coming from the synagogue. Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, executive director of the Chabad of San Diego County, sent a powerful message of strength following the attack.

“In the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country,” Fradkin said in a statement. “We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate. We are deeply shaken by the loss of a true woman of valor, Lori Kaye, who lost her life solely for living as a Jew.”

If you’d like to donate to the victims of the attack, head to GoFundMe where donations are being accepted to help with medical operations, funeral services, and repairs for the synagogue.