The shooting at the synagogue in Poway has interesting details
that we might want to keep discussing as we ponder
the aims, successes, and yes, failures of the puppet masters
behind these despicable attacks.
Rachel Stoltzfoos | Staff Reporter at DailyCaller.com
The man who fired a semi-automatic weapon inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Saturday froze, dropped his gun and sprinted to his car when he saw Oscar Stewart come barreling toward him, yelling so loud the priest at a neighboring church could hear.
“Get down!” Stewart yelled, according to his wife and others who were at the scene. “You motherfucker! I’m going to kill you!”
Others who were there later told him it sounded like four or five people were shouting. He thinks maybe an angel was standing behind him and speaking through his voice. When the shooter ran, he immediately gave chase.
Stewart, 51, told The Daily Caller on Sunday he doesn’t remember any conscious thought from the moment he heard the gun shots until it was all over — he just acted on instinct to stop the shooter and prevent him from leaving so he couldn’t hurt more people somewhere else. The Iraq combat veteran said his military training kicked in.
“I knew I had to be within five feet of this guy so his rifle couldn’t get to me,” Stewart said. “So I ran immediately toward him, and I yelled as loud as I could. And he was scared. I scared the hell out of him.”
Stewart served in the Navy in explosive ordnance disposal from 1990 to 1994, then enlisted in the Army in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“Looking back, it was kind of a crazy idea to do, but I did it.” He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and left the military in 2004, as a staff sergeant. He’s now in construction work.
When the gunman opened fire, he was in the back of the synagogue. By the time he got to the lobby, the shooter had killed one woman, blown the finger off of a rabbi, and injured two others.
“I heard gunshots,” Stewart said. “And everybody got up and started trying to get out the back door, so I — for whatever reason — I didn’t do that. I ran the other way. I ran towards the gun shots.”
“When I came around the corner into the lobby area, I saw the individual with a gun, and he fired two rounds. And I yelled at him and I must have yelled very loud, and he looked at me, and I must have had a really mean look on my face or something, because he immediately dropped his weapon and turned and ran. And then I gave chase.”
Stewart said he chased him all the way out to his car and began pounding on it — the shooter had managed to lock himself in. When Stewart saw him reach for a rifle, he punched the side of the car as hard as he could, intending to figure out a way to drag him out of the car. That’s when a Border Patrol agent who attends the synagogue came running out to the parking lot, yelling for Stewart to get down because he had a gun.
Stewart says this man may have saved his life and pointed to his use of a civilian’s gun as evidence that gun control isn’t the answer to these kinds of tragedies. Stewart was off-duty and was apparently handed the weapon by someone else on the scene.
“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” he told the Caller.
The agent fired several rounds into the lower part of the vehicle, intending to disable it, but the shooter managed to drive away. The two of them then grabbed a phone from someone and called the police to report his license plate. The shooter later turned himself in.
After he sped off, Stewart ran back into the synagogue and found a woman he knew, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye, unresponsive on the floor in the lobby. He began CPR and continued trying to bring her back to life as a couple of doctors arrived and began to assist him. She didn’t make it. The two had talked occasionally, and he remembers her as a passionate and kind woman.
“She had different political views, so we had interesting discussions when we talked,” he said. “We didn’t just talk about the weather. It was kind of cool. She was a very loving woman.”
Stewart considers her the real hero. Eyewitnesses said she jumped in front of the rabbi to save his life.
“People in the aftermath here have been saying it’s important to be strong and defend ourselves. I also think it’s important to know that being strong and defending ourselves requires a lot of sacrifice too.”
“I don’t know if I consciously made the choice to potentially sacrifice myself,” he added. “But I did. And this lady, she stood and she jumped in front of the shooter and she saved the rabbi’s life. When somebody said I was a hero, I’m like, she was a hero. I just did it instinctively, like an animal. There was no conscious decision. I just did it.”
He may not call himself a hero, but Stewart believes his actions effectively stopped the shooter. He doesn’t think reports of the shooter’s gun jamming as the reason he fled are likely to be true, because he was using a semi-automatic rifle. “Full automatic weapons will jam,” he said. “Semi-automatic weapons do not jam.” He thinks maybe the shooter had emptied his magazine. Whatever the case, the shooter let the slung weapon drop and fled.
“He was in the act of shooting when I saw him,” Stewart said. “When I yelled at him he turned and looked at me, and he like froze. And then the look on his face was one of amazement at first, and then one of fear. He saw me coming, and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to stop him.”
For his part, Stewart doesn’t attribute the shooter’s actions to a larger agenda and was reluctant to connect him to a larger political context. He doesn’t blame President Donald Trump and expressed hope that people don’t try to blame anyone else for the man’s actions. “He was an individual acting alone,” he said.
“If you’re ignorant and you don’t know what people are like, you don’t know that I’m a person just like you. I go to work every day in a manual labor job. I’m not some, you know – supposedly he said in his manifesto that the Jews control this and that — I don’t control anything. I go to work just like you every day. He didn’t know that.”
“If he had gotten to know me, he would know that I’m a great person, that I’m a nice guy, that I’m a very caring person,” he continued. “My apprentices — they all love me. They say that I’m the best teacher in the world, you know, that I care, that I try to teach them, and if he had known any of these people, like the lady Lori who died. She would go give Easter baskets to kids and that’s not even a Jewish thing, you know. … She was just a warm person.”
If anything’s to blame, he says it’s social media and the increasingly disconnected world we find ourselves in. “The whole media thing — people don’t get to know people, and they get to sit in a cocoon, and sit and make opinions on what somebody writes. It’s not good. We need to interact more.”
“The most important thing I want to share is that we need to know each other,” he said. “If you make an opinion on anyone, you need to know what they’re about, and who they are. You can’t generalize and say every blue person is evil because they’re blue. That’s ridiculous.”
The funeral service for Kaye is on Monday. He expects the synagogue will be totally packed.
By Debra Kamin at TimesOfIsreal.com
POWAY, California — Jonathan Morales, an armed off-duty US Customs and Border Patrol agent who recently discovered his Jewish roots, was among the worshipers at Chabad of Poway on Saturday when John Earnest entered the synagogue near San Diego during Passover services and began shooting.
The 19-year-old gunman killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and wounded three people: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle, Almog Peretz.
“Morales recently discovered his Jewish roots. He would travel three and a half hours from [the California town of] El Centro to pray with us at our shul,” Goldstein told media at a Sunday press conference outside the synagogue. “He felt this was his house of worship. And many times I said, ‘Jonathan, you work for the border patrol. Please arm yourself when you are here; we never know when we will need it.’”
US President Donald Trump spoke with Goldstein on Sunday and took to Twitter to praise the rabbi and Morales, writing: “He may have been off duty but his talents for Law Enforcement weren’t!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2019
As for why there weren’t any active duty guards at the synagogue, in an earlier interview with CNN Goldstein said, “Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to have an armed security officer at every service, so whenever we had extra help, we were grateful for it.”
In a moment that Goldstein referred to as “miraculous,” Earnest’s gun jammed, and congregant Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old Army veteran, and Morales attempted to subdue the gunman. Morales was also able to open fire and give pursuit.
After Earnest fled the building, Morales followed in his own vehicle and shot and hit Earnest’s car. Earnest soon turned himself in to law enforcement.
On Sunday, Goldstein, his two hands in fresh blue bandages, gave a detailed recounting of Saturday’s harrowing shooting in Poway, a suburban town just north of San Diego.
“I was preparing for my sermon, I walked out of the sanctuary and into the lobby and I saw my dear friend Lori Kaye,” said Goldstein. “I walked into the banquet hall to wash my hands, walked two or three footsteps and I heard a loud bang.”
That bang was the sound of the first shots fired by Earnest, a college student who entered the Chabad House undetected amid a flow of mourners who were gathering for Yizkor, the traditional memorial service held on the final day of Passover.
“I turned around and saw something indescribable,” Goldstein continued. “Here is a young man standing with a rifle pointing right at me. He had sunglasses on. I couldn’t see his eyes, I couldn’t see his soul.”
The rabbi said that when he saw the shooter he initially froze, then raised his hands to cover his face. Two of his fingers were blown off; one was reattached by surgeons at Palomar Medical Center in San Diego late Saturday.
Gilbert-Kaye, whom relatives and friends on Saturday described as a woman of unconditional love and unbounded generosity, was the only fatality of Earnest’s mass shooting.
Goldstein took several minutes to thank San Diego County law enforcement and to praise the wellspring of warmth and support that the local community has offered in light of the tragedy.
A chain of miracles
In a remarkable series of events, the rabbi and a handful of congregants were able to save a group of children playing in the adjacent banquet hall, preventing a full-fledged massacre.
“I ran [to gather the children],” 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.”
Aided by Peretz, an Israeli war veteran who was also at Chabad of Poway with his family Sunday, Goldstein was able to usher the children out of the banquet hall with the shooter in pursuit.
But in what Goldstein referred to as a “miracle,” Earnest’s gun jammed. Even while Morales was still on Earnest’s trail, congregants — who had been gathered in the sanctuary and would have made easy targets for Earnest had his gun not jammed — fled to Chabad’s front entrance.
Goldstein’s hand was bleeding badly and his two fingers were dangling by cartilage. “I grabbed a prayer shawl,” he said, wrapped his wounds, and stood on a chair to address his congregation.
“I said, ‘I gotta do something,’” he said. “I said to our congregation: ‘Am Yisrael chai [The People of Israel live]. We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall and we will not let anyone or anything take us down.’”
Farewell to an ‘angel’
Gilbert-Kaye was one of the congregation’s oldest and most devoted members, the rabbi told media. A former employee of Wells Fargo, she was instrumental in helping Chabad secure the loan for the building in the early 1990s. She and her husband Howard were so close with the rabbi and his wife that two weeks ago they flew to New York City for Goldstein’s youngest daughter’s wedding, and danced together with the bride.
Roneet Lev, friend of Chabad of Poway
shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye,
April 28, 2019. (Debra Kamin/Times of Israel)
Her generosity and kindness was lauded on Sunday by Roneet Lev, who was at the Chabad of Poway to mourn. Lev described herself as Kaye’s best friend.
“Lori Kaye is an angel on this planet,” Lev said. “She’s touched many lives in her own life. Not just in this community but throughout the entire world.”
Describing a woman who always carried gifts cards and greeting cards to offer as presents and who would regularly purchase extra coffees and donuts for homeless people on the street, Lev explained that Kaye was at Chabad of Poway to say the first Kaddish mourner’s prayer for her mother, who had recently died.
Kaye’s daughter Hannah lives in Los Angeles and had driven down to be with her mother for the service.
Lev offered hope and optimism as she spoke of her friend.
“Even in this horrible, painful event, we know good will come out of it,” Lev said. “Lori is known for bringing out the good in people. And look at these flowers. Look at this law enforcement. Look at the good people of San Diego. Lori is now bringing them together.”
p.s., another article about the shooting from a local paper was originally posted with some odd wording that cast some shadows on the synagogue’s use of DHS funds to strengthen security. The second and third versions fixed this gaff and added a quote from the local ADL spokesperson.
Oh, VERY IMPORTANT!
The “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite, NOT assault rifle. This is a point we need to be making with everyone that we talk about such things with. https://www.nrablog.com/articles/2016/1/why-the-ar15-is-americas-most-popular-rifle/