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US synagogue shooting leaves one dead, suspect nabbed

Congregation Chabad in Poway, north of San Diego, was attacked by a gunman at a time when Sabbath worshippers were inside the synagogue.

SNS | New Delhi |

A shooting incident at a US synagogue in Poway, California, which left one person dead and three injured was condemned as a hate crime and triggered concerns over targeting of places of worship across continents.

Congregation Chabad in Poway, north of San Diego, was attacked by a gunman at a time when Sabbath worshippers were inside the synagogue. The shooting left a 60-year-old Jewish woman dead.

The three injured include a 57-year-old rabbi, a 34-year-old man and a girl. Reports quoting medical personnel say that the rabbi will lose his right index finger due to defensive wounds.

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.

The shooter, 19-year-old John Earnest, was apprehended after he surrendered to police. He had tried to flee the site of shooting in his car.

Earnest is believed to have used an AR-type assault rifle.

Reports quoting Mayor Steve Vaus say that it was a possible hate crime “because of statements that were made when the shooter entered”.

The Mayor said the congregation was targeted by “someone with hate in their heart… towards our Jewish community and that just will not stand”. The congregation “took security very seriously”, he said.

The Poway incident was the second attack on Jews in the US in the past six months. On 27 October 2018, 11 people were killed at the Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest assault on Jews in US history.

US President Donald Trump decried the attack and expressed thanks to the Border Patrol for apprehending the attacker.

“Thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the shooting at the Synagogue in Poway, California. God bless you all. Suspect apprehended. Law enforcement did outstanding job. Thank you!” he wrote 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!” he added.

 

California Governor Gavin Newsom connected the attack on the Congregation to the recent spate of attacks on religions places of worship including the Christchurch mosque shootings.

“Charleston, Pittsburgh, Quebec, New Zealand — now our own Poway, California. No one should ever fear going to their place of worship,” he wrote in a tweet.

“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,” Newsom added.

 

Congressman Adam Schiff also condemned the anti-Semitic incident and expressed concerns over rising cases of gun violence in the country.

“Another despicable and violent act of anti-Semitism — this time at a synagogue in Poway, California at the end of Passover. We must act to end the scourge of gun violence and come together against the disturbing rise of violent hatred across the U.S,” he said on Twitter.

 

Authorities are investigating to see whether Earnest is connected to arson at a mosque in nearby Escondido from last month.