1 killed, 3 injured as gunman opens fire at California synagogue
Police responded to calls about a man with a gun at the Chabad of Poway synagogue at about 11:30am local time on Saturday. Four victims were taken to hospital, and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus told NBC that there was one fatality.
Police spokesman Sgt. Erin Meleen told media that the suspected gunman was apprehended down the road, “a short distance from the scene.”Also on rt.com Horn or bump? Pro-Palestinian poster at Columbia University sparks accusations of anti-Semitism
In the panic caused by the shooting, several children went missing but were later located and reunited with their parents, Meleen said. It is unclear how many people were in the temple when the shooter opened fire.
The suspect was identified as a 19-year-old white male wielding an “AR-type assault weapon,” San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore told media. Gore said that the suspect attempted to flee the scene. An off-duty border patrol agent tried to stop him and fired several shots at his vehicle but he managed to escape. He was eventually captured after calling in a tip-off on himself.
The suspect called the police, reported the shooting and gave his location, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said. The tip-off was overheard by a patrol officer on a police scanner who was on his way to the scene. The officer spotted the car with the suspect and a rifle on the front seat and pulled it over. The man did not resist arrest.
A young girl, two men and an older woman were taken to hospital immediately in the wake of the rampage. The woman later succumbed to her injuries.
Saturday marked the last day of Passover, an eight-day holiday that marks the exodus of Jews from Egypt. It’s a major holiday in Judaism and typically sees many people attending church services.
US President Donald Trump has expressed condolences to those affected by the shooting, while commending the police for swiftly taking the suspect into custody.
Speaking at the White House South Lawn, Trump said the shooting "looked like a hate crime."
The attacker reportedly shouted an anti-Semitic slur as he went on the rampage inside the synagogue.
Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said that he believes the attack to be a “hate crime” due to the “statements the shooter made when he entered.”
There have been unconfirmed reports that the attacker had penned a manifesto in which he laid out his anti-Semitic views and allegedly claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a mosque. The writings have been circulated online. The authorities said that they were aware of the “manifesto” but couldn’t confirm its authenticity.
Some of the Democratic presidential candidates have expressed sympathies for the victims of the attack.
6 months since the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh & on last day of Passover, a gunman opened fire at Chabad of Poway synagogue. We must stand united & condemn this anti-semitism & all religious bigotry. An attack against one of us for our religion is an attack against all of us pic.twitter.com/u8LtrtwKoP— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 27, 2019
This Shabbat brings another deadly attack on Jews, at worship, on American soil. Whenever anyone comes to harm because of their faith, we are all diminished. We cannot rest until hate has no home.— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 27, 2019
Bernie Sanders linked the shooting to the issue of gun violence.
Another horrific shooting at a place of worship, today at the Poway Synagogue in San Diego County. We must work every day to eradicate all forms of hatred and bigotry, and take serious action to protect Americans from gun violence.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 27, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the attack as “an act of hate” that appears to have been driven by anti-Semitism.
Coming just six months after the horrific mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, we are confronted with what appears to be another anti-Semitic attack. We all stand with the Jewish community against this act of hate.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 27, 2019
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum condemned the attack, raising the alarm over a spike in anti-Semitic violence in the country. The attack on Saturday comes several months after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people were killed.
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