Live Updates

Deadly shooting at California synagogue

Mayor on shooting: This is not Poway

What we covered here

  • What happened: A man opened fire at a San Diego-area synagogue on Saturday, the last day of Passover. The town’s mayor called it a “hate crime.”
  • Victims: A 60-year-old woman died and three others were injured.
  • Suspect: The suspect in custody has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest.
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Synagogue shooting suspect booked on one count of murder in the first degree

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department released the following:

Sheriff Bill Gore would like to update the public with the following information.

Detectives from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department along with members of several local, state and federal agencies have been working throughout the night, interviewing approximately 100 people who were victims and witnesses to the shooting that occurred at the Chabad of Poway.

Detectives also served several search warrants and processed the crime scene at the synagogue, as well as the suspect’s residence in San Diego and his vehicle. The investigation is continuing as detectives process evidence and interview additional witnesses.

The suspect, 19-year-old John T. Earnest, was booked into custody on one count of murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree. There is no indication at this point in the investigation that Earnest was part of an organized group. We believe he acted alone and without outside support in carrying out the attack. We are continuing to explore every investigative avenue to bring out all the facts in the case.

The Sheriff’s Department would like to acknowledge another act of courage that occurred at the synagogue yesterday. Oscar Stewart, who is fifty-one-years-old and resides in Rancho Bernardo, rushed at the shooting suspect, chasing after the suspect as he fled the synagogue to a vehicle parked nearby. Mr. Stewart caught up to the vehicle as the suspect was about to drive away. While Mr. Stewart was near the vehicle, an off-duty Border Patrol Agent caught up to the vehicle and yelled for Mr. Stewart to get out of the way. The Border Patrol Agent then fired a weapon in the suspect’s direction striking the vehicle as it drove away. Mr. Stewart risked his life to stop the shooter and saved lives in the process.

The Sheriff’s Department continues to express its sincerest condolences to those affected by yesterday’s crime. Our hearts go out to those going through this difficult time.

Injured rabbi chokes up as he recounts the moment of the shooting

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, leader of Congregation Chabad, gave an emotional account of his encounter with the shooter.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Goldstein said he came face-to-face with the shooter in the lobby of his synagogue, saying he saw “a young man standing with a rifle, pointing right at me.”

Goldstein was shot in the hands, losing an index finger in the attack.

Goldstein said off-duty Border Patrol agent Jonathan Morales, as well as former soldier Oscar Stewart, tried to tackle the gunman when his gun jammed.

The gunman was able to run away, got into his car and fled the scene.

Goldstein said Morales had recently discovered his Jewish roots and traveled 3 ½ hours from El Centro, California, to pray with the congregation on Passover. The rabbi had previously told Morales to arm himself when he comes to their congregation, saying he told Morales, “we never know when we will need it.”

Goldstein choked up as he talked about his friend Lori Kaye, who died in Saturday’s shooting. “She died to protect all of us,” he said. “She didn’t deserve to die right in front of my eyes.”

Goldstein recalled grabbing a prayer shawl to wrap his arm and bleeding fingers. He said he saw his congregation outside and felt compelled to do something, so he stood on a chair and declared:

Watch the emotional press conference here.

Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report

A GoFundMe campaign is raising money for the shooting victims

A person by the username Cam N has started a GoFundMe campaign to collect donations for victims of the synagogue shooting.

According to the description on the page, the funds will go directly to the Chabad of Poway.

“These donations would be used to pay for for any necessary medical operations for the victims, funeral services, synagogue reparations or anything else the synagogue would need assistance with,” the description reads. “With your help, we can get the victims the help they need. Thank you.”

The person who started the campaign wrote on the page that while they don’t worship at the synagogue in Poway, seeing an attack on a place of worship horrified them and motivated them to start the campaign.

The page for the campaign can be found here.

His kids left Israel to escape violence. Then gunfire erupted at their synagogue in the US.

The father of Almog Peretz, who was wounded in the synagogue shooting, said he never believed something like this could happen to his family in the United States.

Aharon Peretz, who lives in Israel, heard about the shooting on Saturday evening after the end of Sabbath. He tried to call his son, Almog, and his daughter, Eden Dahan, who attend the Chabad synagogue, but he says their phones were off because it was still the Sabbath in the US.

“My wife and I were very afraid,” Peretz told CNN’s Oren Liebermann. “We started to run to figure out how to get ahold of them.”

Peretz was eventually able to get in touch with a neighbor in California, who told him his son and granddaughter had been lightly injured in the shooting.

He said his children left Israel to escape regional violence.

“The children always said, ‘Let’s leave, Let’s leave.’ But my wife and I stayed here, and they left for the United States,” Peretz explained. 

“The fact that violence still found them in the US is “unbelievable,” he added.

Still, Peretz was happy to hear about how his son rushed children out of an emergency exit to safety during the shooting.

“My son is a hero — truly a hero. I know him — he’s a serious man. He saved the kids. All the best to him,” said Peretz. “It’s good that he saved young children when someone came to kill them. He cared for them and saved them and put them in a place where they can be safe.”

One woman says the shooting has made her afraid to attend synagogue

Irena Slovskayah and Sebastian Ramirez attended an anti-hate rally in Long Beach, California, on Sunday.

Irena Slovskayah, who was at an anti-hate rally in Long Beach on Sunday, told CNN’s Paul Vercammen she was horrified by the synagogue shooting in Poway and by anti-Semitic rhetoric in the US.

“I just feel unsafe,” she said. “I feel unsafe with the rhetoric and people keep asking me if I’m Jewish, and I don’t understand why that’s even relevant.”

Slovskayah added that the shooting has made her afraid to attend synagogue.

“I go to synagogues. What if there’s another attack? So I just fear, maybe I should stop going to synagogues. Maybe I should keep my Jewish heritage quiet. I just think I have to protect myself. Maybe I should carry a weapon because I am fearful for my life,” she said.

All shooting victims have been discharged from the hospital

All the victims from the shooting at Congregation Chabad synagogue on Saturday have been discharged from Palomar Health in San Diego County, a hospital spokesperson says.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein will be holding a press conference at the synagogue today at 5 p.m. EST.

A grandfather shielded his grandson from bullets during the attack

Shimon Abitbul is visiting the US from Israel and was at Congregation Chabad in Poway during Saturday’s shooting. He talked to CNN’s Nick Watt about the experience.

Abitbul said he first tried to protect his grandson from the shooter by lying on top of the child. Once he heard a pause in the gunfire, he took his grandson and ran away from the synagogue and into the neighborhood. Abitbul’s granddaughter was being led to safety by Almog Peretz, who then got shot in the leg.

According to Abitbul, his grandchildren didn’t understand what was going on. They thought they were playing, and there wasn’t a real shooting.

Abitbul also described the heart-wrenching moments when Lori Kaye’s husband, who is a doctor, tried to save her life. Abitdul, who is a paramedic in Israel, said they saw a hole in her chest and tried to perform CPR on her. Kaye ultimately died.

Pastor of the church the suspect attended speaks out

A shot of Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church, where the synagogue shooting suspect was a member.

CNN spoke with Zach Keele, the pastor at Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church, where the 19-year-old synagogue shooting suspect John Earnest attended.

Keele said that Earnest was a member of the church for most of his life, but he didn’t participate in any youth or Sunday school activities. The pastor condemned the shooting.

“We completely deplore what he did,” Keele said. “It is not part of our beliefs, our practices, our teachings in any way. Our hearts, our prayers, our tears go out to the victims. To all those wonderful neighbors at the synagogue, we pray for them.

Keele said the shooting came as surprise to the community.

“We believe in lifting high the love of Christ to all people – men, women, old and young from every tribe and denomination,” he said. “This is a complete surprise. He was quiet, kept to himself, sweet guy. We had no idea. This a surprise to all of us.”

The rabbi injured in the shooting wants Jewish people to 'fill up the synagogues'

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who leads Congregation Chabad and was injured in Saturday’s attack, spoke to CNN’s Brian Stelter about what it was like to escape death, losing a friend and anti-Semitism.

On surviving the tragedy:

It is so horrific. I met the terrorist face to face, eye to eye. Our eyes locked and he aimed at me and miraculously, I was able to just survive losing my fingers but still alive here to say today.

Sadly, my colleague, my long-time mentor was Lori Kaye, that was standing between the lobby, did not survive. She was shot point-blank. 

On Lori Kaye, the woman who was killed:

Lori and I have known each other for over 25 years. She was one of the pioneering members of our congregation. She is not just a member, she’s an activist. She personified ultimate of kindness and generosity. 

She’s one of those people who are always there to be able to help others in their time of need. When people are diagnosed with cancer, she would be dragging them to appointments and would bring flowers to cheer people up and bake Shabbat challah just to bring the family some happiness. 

She was the ultimate woman of kindness and it’s unfathomable, why this beautiful, beautiful, wonderful human being would be shot down.

On attacks targeting Jewish people:

This has to stop. The constitution of the United States guarantees freedom and religion for all faith. You know, we’re so lucky and fortunate to live in a country that protects our rights to live as proud Jews. We’re still recovering from the Holocaust. We found a haven to live as free people and yet, we’re being mowed down like animals like we’re Nazi Germany. And this has to stop.

But you know what? We’re not going to be intimidated or deterred. Terror will not win and as Americans, we can’t and won’t cower in the face of this senseless hate of what’s called anti-semitism. 

On his reflections after the shooting:

After recovering from surgery, so much thoughts have been running through my mind trying to figure out what sense can I make out of this? Why was my life spared? 

I was centimeters away from being shot point blank, and I got away from losing my index finger that will be a scar forever. But that scar is going to remind me how vulnerable we are, but yet how heroic each one of us can be to stand up and fight against terror. 

On how to combat the darkness:

A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. We need a lot of light now.

This coming Saturday, I personally feel I want to appeal to all the Jewish people to make an effort to attend synagogue. We need to fill up those rooms, not run away from synagogue. On the contrary, let’s fill up the synagogues. 

Let us show these terrorists, let us show these evil, wicked people, they will not do anything to hinder us from being proud Jews, and for being proud people walking the freedom of America. 

We need to really answer the darkness with as much life as possible.

On his message to his congregation:

I have lived through this horror for a reason. And we have been taught anything that you see and hear in life, you need to take a lesson and do something with it. And I want to take my message to as many people as possible.

Missing a finger is just a finger. But God didn’t want me to die yesterday. God wants me to continue on being his emissary and to be a partner.

And you know what? We are all created in the image of God. We all have a mission in this world. We are all partners of God’s creation. We all need to just take this darkness and do some random acts of kindness.

It’s going to tip the scale in our favor 100%. 

On turning pain into something positive:

I got both of my hands wrapped up. I can’t even drink a cup of water. I’m in excruciating pain out of surgery, but the pain doesn’t pale towards what I can do to help another person. What can I do to inspire others who have been in such dark spaces as well? Hopefully, I accomplish that. 

Watch part of the interview here:

Hero uncle leads children to safety after being shot

Almog Peretz, one of three people wounded in Saturday’s shooting at Congregation Chabad, spoke with CNN’s Oren Liebermann about the attack.

Peretz, who is visiting San Diego from Israel, said he was shot in the leg, where the bullet is still lodged. Doctors are evaluating whether to removed it.

“Thank God I am slowly, slowly improving,” he said.

Peretz was in the synagogue with his family and was taking a friend’s daughter to the dining room when the shooter entered the building, he said. He said he heard a gunshot, turned around to look and saw the shooter standing in the lobby.

Peretz said he was across the synagogue from the shooter and did not see anyone else shot. He saw the shooter “line him up, almost like he had a sniper, and aimed, and started shooting.”

That’s when Peretz believes he was shot. Peretz said he ran to an emergency exit door and told nearby children to follow him. Peretz took the kids next door to the rabbi’s home. He then returned to the synagogue to search for a niece who was missing. She was later found hiding in the bathroom in the synagogue, he said. By the time Peretz returned to the synagogue, the shooter was gone, he added.

One of Peretz’s other nieces, 9-year-old Noya Dahan, was injured by shrapnel but has since been released from the hospital, he said.

What we know about the victims of the shooting

Lori Kaye was killed in a shooting at Congregation Chabad on the last day of Passover.

Lori Kaye, 60, was fatally shot at the synagogue when she jumped between the shooter and the rabbi.

She had attended services Saturday to say a Kaddish prayer for her mother, who died in November, a friend said.

Three people were also injured in the shooting:

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, had been shot in the hand when Kaye stepped between him and the gunman. The rabbi suffered what looked like defensive wounds to both of his index fingers, a doctor at the Palomar Medical Center said.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of the Chabad of Poway synagogue

Noya Dahan, 9, was at the synagogue with her two sisters and was injured by shrapnel, her father said.

Noya Dahan was injured in the shooting.

Almog Peretz, 34, was injured by shrapnel while trying to protect his niece, the girl’s father said. He was visiting from Israel for Passover and was attending Saturday service with his family when the shooting happened, a congregation member said.

Almog Peretz was injured in the shooting.

Mayor says preparations after Pittsburgh shooting saved lives in Poway

Safety discussions after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh six months ago likely saved lives on Saturday, Mayor Steve Vaus told CNN’s Nick Watt.

“Just a few days after the Tree of Life Massacre in Pittsburgh we came together here with the Rabbi and his congregants … and not only memorialized the victims of Pittsburgh but we talked about how to minimize future tragedies,” Vaus said.

“And I have no doubt that saved lives yesterday.”

Vaus also commended the courage of the congregants.

“I heard a story about a man that whisked children out to safety. Others covered their fellow congregants with their own bodies. That’s the community of Poway that I want the world to know about,” he said.

Vaus described the Poway community as multi-religious, noting that the city had a synagogue, a Greek Orthodox church and a Presbyterian church.

“This is a community that – faith binds us together,” he said.

European Jewish Congress calls the shooting 'a very worrying trend in antisemitism in the US'

The European Jewish Congress condemned the shooting at the Congregation Chabad, calling it “a very worrying trend in antisemitism in the US.”

“This, coupled with the horrifically antisemitic caricature in the New York Times over the weekend and the repeated attempts by local political leaders to diminish, belittle and even in some instances, justify antisemitism, means that sadly the U.S. is moving towards European levels of antisemitism,” EJC president Moshe Kantor said in a statement.

Kantor was referring to a cartoon that ran in the international print edition of The New York Times on Thursday. Times opinion editors apologized for the cartoon on Twitter, saying it included anti-Semitic tropes and was offensive.

“We call on all leaders of the world to take the fight against antisemitism more seriously and clamp down on those who spread hate because eventually it becomes a problem for society as a whole.”

Suspect accused of murder and attempted murder

The 19-year-old accused of opening fire at a synagogue in California has been booked into San Diego Central Jail on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree attempted murder, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Inmate Website.

The suspect, John Earnest, was booked into jail early Sunday, according to the website. The site also says that he is scheduled for arraignment on May 1 at 1:30 p.m. PST.

Authorities believe suspect acted alone

The suspect in the California synagogue shooting acted alone, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

“The Sheriff’s Department would like to assure our communities that there are no known threats to religious gatherings,” the department said in a statement. “We encourage our communities to continue with scheduled events and other activities as normal.”

Authorities are encouraging anyone with information about potential threats to report them to law enforcement.

Suspect is a student at Cal State University San Marcos

Suspect John Earnest is a California State University San Marcos student, the university’s president said.

President Karen S. Hayness said in a letter to students and staff that the university is working with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department “to assist and gain more information” on Earnest.

“We are heartbroken by this tragedy, which was motivated by hate and anti-Semitism,” she wrote.
“As a university community we know that our diversity make us stronger. Today’s reprehensible actions do not define us. They never will. We stand united against hatred as we work toward a better, more peaceful world.”

Rabbi 'most likely' to lose index finger, doctor says

The 57-year-old rabbi at Congregation Chabad in Poway suffered what looked like defensive wounds to both of his index fingers during the shooting.

“He will likely lose his right index finger,” said Dr. Michael Katz, a trauma surgeon at Palomar Medical Center Poway.

Katz said the hospital received four patients from the shooting. One of them, a 60-year-old woman, died at the hospital.

The two other victims, a 34-year-old man and a girl, had shrapnel injuries. The girl, whose age was not given, was wounded in one leg and in the face. She was transferred to a children’s hospital and will be monitored overnight.

Authorities are investigating an open letter that may be connected to the suspect

Authorities are aware of an open letter posted online by the 19-year-old suspect identified as John Earnest in the San Diego-area synagogue shooting, Sheriff Bill Gore said in a press conference.

Gore said they are “collecting digital evidence” and are in the process of reviewing the online content “to determine its validity and authenticity.”

CNN has read through an open letter posted to the anonymous message board 8chan before the shooting at Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway on Saturday morning. In the open letter, someone identifying as 19-year-old John Earnest references killing Jewish people without making actual reference to Poway or the synagogue involved in the shooting.

In the open letter, Earnest talks about planning the attack and references other attacks on houses of worship, including the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh as well the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. Earnest also talks about his disdain for Jews and claims responsibility for a mosque fire in Escondido a week and a half after the attacks in Christchurch.

According to a flyer released by Escondido Police Department, authorities are investigating an arson incident that took place at the Islamic Center of Escondido on March 24. San Diego Sheriff’s Department is also investigating whether Earnest was involved in the arson attack. 

The open letter is structured in a similar fashion to the manifesto linked to Christchurch attack suspect Brenton Tarrant, replete with a question-and-answer section in which Earnest answers general questions about his character, political affiliation and motivation for carrying out the alleged shooting.

Mayor says attack could have been worse but worshippers were 'proactive'

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said worshippers at the San Diego-area synagogue had learned safety protocols and learn how to respond during a shooting when police and local officials visited the synagogue last month.

Vaus said President Donald Trump called him to offer his condolences following the shooting. In addition, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also reached out to express his sorrow and noted that it was only six months ago that his city suffered a similar attack, Vaus said.

Police looking into possible connection with arson attack at a nearby mosque

Law enforcement officials are investigating whether the synagogue shooting in Poway and an arson attack at a mosque in Escondido, California, are connected.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said authorities are trying to determine whether suspect John Earnest was linked to an incident at the Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque, also known as the Islamic Center of Escondido, last month.

Someone set fire to the mosque while several people were inside on March 24. No injuries were reported but the exterior of the building was damaged, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

President Trump at rally: Anti-Semitism and hate "must be defeated"

President Trump addressed the shooting at the top of his rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, offering prayers for the victims and condemning anti-Semitism.

“Tonight, America’s heart is with the victims of the horrific synagogue shooting,” he said, adding that the entire nation “stands in solidarity with the Jewish community.”

Trump said anti-Semitism and hate “must be defeated.”

Suspect identified as 19-year-old John Earnest

The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters at a press conference.

He has no prior contact with law enforcement, according to officials.

Gore said that authorities are aware of a “manifesto” that Earnest wrote, and are currently reviewing the document.

He also added that officials are looking at the possibility that Earnest was associated with a mosque arson in nearby Escondido from last month. 

Trump has spoken to California's governor and Poway's mayor

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump called California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus after today’s shooting at a San Diego-area synagogue.

Sanders did not elaborate on the content of those conversations.

Earlier, Trump told reporters that the White House is doing “heavy research” and “will get to the bottom of it.”

San Diego is beefing up security at places of worship

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore announced on Twitter that police would be providing extra patrols at places of worship through the weekend and encouraged people to report any suspicious activity.

“Update #6 @SDSheriff will be providing extra patrols at places of worship this weekend. We encourage congregations to call us with any security concerns. If you see something suspicious, say something. Call the @sdcrimestoppers anonymous line(888) 580-8477.

9-1-1 for emergencies,” the sheriff wrote.

SOON: Officials give an update on the synagogue shooting

Officials are about to speak at a news conference about the shooting at a synagogue near San Diego.

Watch it here on CNNgo.

An off-duty Border Patrol agent tried to shoot the suspect

As the suspect was fleeing the synagogue, an off-duty Border Patrol agent opened fire on him, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference. The agent ultimately did not hit the suspect, instead striking some of the cars nearby.

An officer who was en route to the scene overheard that the suspect had called into California Highway Patrol, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said later. The suspect said he was involved in the shooting and shared his location.

As the officer was exiting the freeway, he saw the suspect in his vehicle. The suspect was taken into custody shortly after.

President Trump thanked the border agent on Twitter.

“Sincerest THANK YOU to our great Border Patrol Agent who stopped the shooter at the Synagogue in Poway, California. He may have been off duty but his talents for Law Enforcement weren’t!” Trump wrote.

California governor condemns shooting

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office was working closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation after the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.

Here’s his full statement:

“California sends our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the victims of today’s shooting at the Chabad of Poway.
“My office continues to work closely with local and state law enforcement to monitor this situation. We join the Poway community in its grief and, together with all Californians, recognize the bravery and heroism of our first responders.
 “While we continue to learn more about what transpired, we can’t ignore the circumstances around this horrific incident. No one should have to fear going to their place of worship, and no one should be targeted for practicing the tenets of their faith.”

Newsom also condemned attacks on places of worship in a post on Twitter.

“Charleston, Pittsburgh, Quebec, New Zealand — now our own Poway, California.

No one should ever fear going to their place of worship.

Hate continues to fuel horrific and cowardly acts of violence across our state, country, and world. It must be called out. CA stands with Poway,” he wrote.

Groups issue statements on shooting

“Today we saw another horrific act of antisemitic hate”

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich released the following statement in light of the deadly synagogue shooting earlier today:

“Today we saw another horrific act of antisemitic hate at Congregation Chabad in Poway, California, six months to the day after the deadly shooting that killed 11 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Once again, a young white male has apparently been influenced by dangerous online white supremacist propaganda. And once again, we see how this propaganda can lead to terrorist acts. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and everyone who is affected by this terrible tragedy.” 

“This shooting is a reminder of the enduring virulence of anti-Semitism”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt released the following statement in response to the shooting:

“We are devastated by the shooting at the Chabad synagogue and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We are grateful to law enforcement for their swift response.
It’s heartbreaking to see yet another tragedy on Shabbat, on the last day of Passover, exactly six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. 
This shooting is a reminder of the enduring virulence of anti-Semitism. It must serve as a call to action for us as a society to deal once and for all with this hate. People of all faiths should not have to live in fear of going to their house of worship. From Charleston to Pittsburgh to Oak Creek and from Christchurch to Sri Lanka, and now Poway, we need to say “enough is enough.” Our leaders need to stand united against hate and address it both on social media and in our communities.
ADL is on the ground in San Diego, working with local authorities to set up a community support center for those directly affected by the shooting. Our experts are working with law enforcement and monitoring the situation closely.”

“No justification or explanation for such violence”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder addressed the shooting at the Chabad synagogue in the following statement:

The World Jewish Congress is horrified by the vicious attack unleashed today against a Chabad synagogue near San Diego, just six months after the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh which claimed 11 lives. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder expressed his deep sorrow and condolences to the victims of the California attack, after the San Diego sheriff confirmed that one person had been killed and three others wounded.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community of Poway, California today as their worst nightmare unfolds. There is absolutely no justification or explanation for such violence, and it is inconceivable that, yet again, innocent people have been targeted simply for their religion and for choosing to attend a place of worship,” Lauder said. 
“We strongly condemn this heinous attack and extend our deepest sympathies to the victims, their loved ones, and the entire community. We pray for the swift recovery of the injured and trust that justice will be served against the perpetrator of this attack. There is no room for such hate-filled violence in our society. People of all faiths must stand together and declare that we will never tolerate such hatred,” Lauder said.

It's been exactly six months since the Pittsburgh synagogue attack

The timing of the shooting at Congregation Chabad is significant.

It’s the last day of Passover, one of the holiest Jewish celebrations of the year.

It also comes exactly six months to the day after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a man opened fire and killed 11 people. A federal law enforcement official said at the time that Robert Bowers made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting and targeted Jews on social media.

The Anti-Defamation league said the shooting at Tree of Life was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said that he considers today’s shooting a hate crime “because of statements that were made when the shooter entered.”

19-year-old suspect fled the scene and called 911 on himself

The 19-year-old man who allegedly opened fire at the synagogue fled the scene and then called 911 to identify himself as the suspect, according to San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit.

Investigators are looking into an open letter apparently connected to the suspect, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said. He did not elaborate on the suspect’s motivations.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum 'shocked and alarmed'

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum released a statement today on the shooting that occurred at a San Diego-area synagogue.

The Museum expressed shock and alarm over the “second armed attack” on a synagogue in six months, a reference to the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed.

“Now our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” the Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield said.

Here’s the full statement:

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is shocked and alarmed at the second armed attack on a synagogue in the United States in six months, this time at Congregation Chabad in San Diego County, California, on the last day of Passover.
“Now our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” said Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “But moving forward this must serve as yet another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace. The Holocaust is a reminder of the dangers of unchecked antisemitism and the way hate can infect a society. All Americans must unequivocally condemn it and confront it in wherever it appears.”
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity.

What we know about the victims so far

At least one person is dead and three others are wounded.

One of the people who was shot was a rabbi at the Congregation Chabad synagogue, Minoo Anvari told CNN affiliate KUSI.

Anvari said her husband called her while he was in the synagogue, saying the rabbi and others were injured. Her husband is “in shock,” she said. 

“My husband called, and he said that there has been a shooting at the synagogue, and unfortunately one of my friends is down. And my Rabbi has been injured and two other people are injured, and one guy came and shoot everybody and cursing, and of course they took them to hospital and they are praying for them,” she said.