A 19-year-old man was in custody after a shooting at a California synagogue on the last day of Passover left at least one person dead and several others wounded, the city’s mayor said Saturday.The shooting occurred at Congregation Chabad in Poway, north of San Diego, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. He described it as a possible hate crime.President Donald Trump, speaking outside the White House Saturday, told reporters, “At this moment it looks like a hate crime, but my deepest sympathies to all of those affected and we’ll get to the bottom of it.”
The Palomar Medical Center Poway received four patients from the shooting, according to a trauma surgeon.One patient, a 60-year-old woman, died at the hospital, Dr. Michael Katz said.”The other three victims are doing well with their injuries,” he told reporters.A 57-year-old rabbi who was shot suffered what looked like defensive wounds to both of his index fingers. He will likely lose his right index finger, the doctor said.A 34-year-old man and a girl had shrapnel injuries.
The girl, whose age was not given, was wounded in one leg and in the face. She was transferred to a children’s hospital and will be monitored overnight.Vaus said he considered it a hate crime “because of statements that were made when the shooter entered.”San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore later identified the suspect as John Earnest, of San Diego. Authorities are investigating to see whether Earnest is connected to arson at a mosque in nearby Escondido from last month, he said.The mayor said the congregation was targeted by “someone with hate in their heart … towards our Jewish community and that just will not stand.”
Rabbi, while wounded, calls for unity
Congregation member Minoo Anvari, who said her husband witnessed the shooting, said the rabbi called for unity and prayed for peace even after getting shot.”Rabbi said, ‘We are united,'” said Anvari, a refugee from Iran.”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.”Anvari said her husband told her the shooter was cursing when he opened fire.