On Saturday, April 27th, 2019, a gunman entered a synagogue in San Diego yelling anti-Semitic slurs, and opened fire with an A.R. 15-style gun. He paused when the rabbi of the congregation tried to talk with him, but fired again. His attack left a 60-year-old woman dead, the rabbi wounded, and a 34-year-old man and a girl with shrapnel wounds. It was the Sabbath and the last day of Passover, a holiday that celebrates Jewish freedom.
The shooting, at Chabad of Poway, about 25 miles north of San Diego, is the most recent in a series of deadly attacks at houses of worship, including mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand last month and church bombings in Sri Lanka in the past couple of weeks. The attack in San Diego came exactly six months after one of the worst acts of violence against the American Jewish community in decades left 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Local officials called the shooting a hate crime due to the intentions of the gunman. The perpetrator, whom officials identified as John Earnest, a 19-year-old resident of San Diego, screamed that “Jews were ruining the world” as he stormed the synagogue. An off-duty Border Patrol agent at the synagogue shot at the suspect’s vehicle as he tried to escape.
At the time, the synagogue did not have a guard, and there were about 40 to 60 people present. The San Diego police chief, David Nisleit, said that after the shooting, the gunman called the California Highway Patrol to report his location on Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo. He then surrendered to a police officer who was responding to the attack, jumping out of his vehicle with his hands up.
From Washington, President Trump offered his sympathies, “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”
Just hours after the incident, Avi Edberg – who attends a different Poway synagogue – offered his support. “I had to come and help. Please help. This is so horrible; just horrible.”
– Maggie Di Sanza
Categories: Student Life