An attorney representing Chabad of California said Friday the organization “feels terrible” for the victims of the 2019 Chabad of Poway shooting but has “no control” over the local synagogue’s security, in response to a lawsuit filed against the synagogue and the state Chabad organization for alleged insufficient security measures.
The lawyer who filed the suit last week in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of the family of a young girl wounded in the shooting countered that “it would be surprising” if Chabad of California provided no oversight regarding security measures among other Chabads throughout the state.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Israel Dahan and three of his children alleges security guards should have been hired to safeguard the congregation at the time of the April 27, 2019, shooting and that the synagogue lacked enough fences, gates, barriers and other measures to keep threats out.
The lawsuit also alleges Chabad received federal funds intended to be spent on security upgrades in anticipation that the synagogue would likely be a target of anti-semitic attacks, yet the money was not spent.
Noya Dahan, who was 8 at the time of the shooting, was injured along with her uncle, Almog Peretz, and the Chabad’s former rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein. Killed in the shooting was 60-year-old congregant Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was shot twice in the synagogue’s foyer.
Defendants include Chabad of Poway, Chabad of California, Rabbi Simcha Backman — who, according to the complaint, oversees security grants for all 207 Chabad organizations across the state — and the alleged shooter, 21-year-old John Timothy Earnest.
— City News Service contributed to this article