By AP and DEBRA KAMIN, Times of Israel—
San Diego police said Sunday that the gunman who opened fire on a crowded synagogue on Passover, killing one person and wounding three others, was apparently acting alone and not part of an organized group.
The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, has been booked into custody on one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree, said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, according to the Reuters news agency.
Congregation rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, speaking at a news conference Sunday outside the synagogue north of San Diego, said only the fact that the shooter’s gun had jammed prevented a much greater tragedy.
In the minutes after the gunman fled the scene, Goldstein wrapped his bloodied hand in a prayer shawl and addressed the panicked congregation, vowing to stay strong in the face of yet another deadly attack in a house of worship.
“We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall. We will not let anyone take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down,” Goldstein recalled telling his congregants after the gunfire erupted Saturday at Chabad of Poway.
Congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the shooting, which injured Goldstein, eight-year-old Noya Dahan and her 34-year-old uncle, Almog Peretz, authorities said. Hours after the three wounded were released from hospitals, Goldstein described the ordeal outside the synagogue.
Goldstein said he was preparing for a service on the last day of Passover and saw a young man wearing sunglasses standing in front of him with a rifle.
“I couldn’t see his eyes. I couldn’t see his soul,” Goldstein said. He raised his hands to protect himself and lost one of his fingers in the shooting.
And then, Goldstein says, “miraculously the gun jammed.”
“I ran ,” Goldstein says. “My granddaughter, who is four and a half years old, saw her grandpa with a bleeding hand, she saw me shouting, ‘Get out! Get out! She didn’t deserve to see her grandfather like that.” Continue Reading….