Woman Killed While Protecting Rabbi in Synagogue Shooting

POWAY, Calif.—A Jewish leader has identified the victims of a shooting at a synagogue in a suburb of San Diego on April 27.

Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, executive director of Chabad of San Diego County, says in a statement that Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway was killed. He says those injured in the shooting Saturday were Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan, 8, Almog Peretz, 34.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that witnesses said Kaye jumped between the shooter and the synagogue’s founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, who was wounded in the index fingers on both hands.

NTD Photo
Lori Kaye. (Courtesy of Audrey Jacobs via CNN)

The Union-Tribune also says that Dahan was hit with shrapnel in the face and leg, and Peretz was shot in the leg as he ushered children in a playroom to safety.

“In the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country,” Fradkin said. “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.”

President Donald Trump praised law enforcement’s “incredible response” to the attack.

Trump, who was speaking at a Saturday rally in Wisconsin, singled out an off-duty Border Patrol agent “who returned fire.”

President Donald Trump talks about synagogue shooting in a California
President Trump talks to the media about the shooting in a California synagogue at White House, on April 27, 2019. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

San Diego County Sheriff William Gore says the Border Patrol agent was working as a security guard and fired as the gunman was fleeing, hitting the getaway car.

Gore says there were indications that the attacker’s gun might have malfunctioned after firing inside the synagogue.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore speaks at a news conference held outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, Calif., on April 27, 2019. (Denis Poroy/AP Photo)

Authorities have identified the suspect as John Earnest, 19, of San Diego, and say he’s also being investigated in a fire at a mosque in a nearby city last month.

Authorities say they are serving search warrants on his house and are aware of an anti-Jewish online screed that someone identifying themselves as Earnest wrote about an hour before the attack.

san diego police approach a house thought to be the home of 19 year-old john
Heavily armed San Diego police officers approach a house thought to be the home of 19 year-old John T. Earnest, in San Diego, on April 27, 2019. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

Gore says they’re investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.

The attack came exactly six months after 11 people were killed in the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh officials hearing of the synagogue shooting in California are offering sympathy from the city that six months ago was the site of the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

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A memorial stands outside the Tree of Life synagogue for the deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, on Oct. 29, 2018. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh said in a statement that “we are heartbroken—and appalled and outraged. … This must stop.”

The statement says the Pittsburgh congregation knows “the fear, anguish and healing process such an atrocity causes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Gov. Gavin Newsom also offered their condolences to the Jewish community.

Newsom said “no one should have to fear going to their place of worship.”

Pelosi said on Twitter that she stands with the Jewish community against “this act of hate.”