A gunman opened fire in a synagogue on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath and this year also the final day of the Passover holiday. Several congregants were wounded and a sixty-year-old woman was killed in the synagogue shooting.
The attack took place at approximately 11:30 a.m. at the Chabad House in Poway, California, north of San Diego.
The 19-year-old suspect is John C. Ernest, of San Diego. San Diego’s NBC affiliate reported Sherrif Bill Gore saying that Ernest has no criminal history and “has no apparent connection with white supremacist groups.”
The shooting which took place inside the synagogue. The rabbi of the congregation was shot in the hands and a girl and a 35-year-old male congregant were also wounded.
An off-duty border patrol officer was in the congregation when the shooting took place. The officer opened fire on the fleeing suspect, hitting his vehicle. A San Diego police officer soon recognized the vehicle from police dispatches and began pursuit. The suspect pulled over, surrendered, and was taken into custody.
There were reports that the suspect’s weapon misfired during the shooting.
President Donald J. spoke from the South Lawn of the White House. The president said that the synagogue shooting “looks like a hate crime” and promised to “get to the bottom of it.” He offered condolences to those impacted and thanked law enforcement for their work.
Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who represents Poway and its environs, tweeted, “Tragic news that a gunman has attacked Chabad of Poway synagogue, on this, the last day of Passover, a day that is supposed to be a celebration of faith and freedom. I am thinking of, and praying for, those hurt and affected.”
Senator Norm Coleman of the Republican Jewish Committee quoted the Mayor of Poway in saying that the synagogue shooting was a hate crime. Coleman said “we are reminded that as Jews we continue to be targets of hate even after 3000+ years.” Coleman also gave thanks to the first responders, calling them “heroes.”
The shooting took place on the six month anniversary of the shooting attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.