A community candlelight vigil is planned for the victims of Saturday’s shooting rampage at Chabad of Poway that left one woman dead and three others wounded.
In partnership with the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego, the Poway Unified School District is hosting the 6:30 p.m. Monday vigil at the Poway High School stadium.
“All are invited and encouraged to wear blue in solidarity with the Jewish community,” PUSD spokeswoman Christine Paik said.
All three surviving victims of Saturday’s attack have been released from the hospital, officials said Sunday, while the suspect in the deadly attack remained jailed and was due to be arraigned Wednesday.
Friends and neighbors identified the woman who was killed as 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye of San Diego. They said she died a hero for trying to protect Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein after the suspect, 19-year-old John T. Earnest of San Diego, opened fire using an AK-15 assault rifle as about 100 people worshipped at Chabad of Poway during the last day of Passover.
Goldstein was among those injured. He spoke out Monday following his hospital release.
“After 33 years, we did not expect what happened here yesterday,” Goldstein said.
The rabbi said Kaye was a longtime friend who was one of the congregation’s “pioneers.” He said she’d been at the temple for about 25 years and, as a former bank employee, helped get the congregation a loan to build its synagogue.
Kaye was at the temple with her husband and daughter on Saturday to honor her mother, who had recently died, Goldstein said.
He said he had just been speaking to Kaye when the shooting started.
“I walked into the banquet hall to wash my hands, and I walked two, three footsteps when I hear a loud bang,” Goldstein said.
He said he turned around to come face-to-face with the shooter — later identified by authorities as 19-year-old John Earnest of Rancho Penasquitos — who he said was wearing sunglasses.
“I couldn’t see his eyes,” Goldstein said. “I couldn’t see his soul.”
Goldstein said he lifted up his hands and several shots came flying at him. He lost his index finger on his right hand in the shooting, and went through hours of surgery to save his other index finger, he said.
The rabbi credited 34-year-old Almog Peretz, who he said was an Israeli military veteran, with gathering children and shepherding them to safety. Peretz, he said, was shot in a leg in the process and an 8-year-old named Noya was hit by shrapnel.
Goldstein, Peretz and the child are all expected to recover.
Goldstein told reporters the shooter’s gun “miraculously” jammed, and he was chased out by a Border Patrol agent who had recently “discovered his Jewish roots” and began making the three-hour drive from El Centro to attend services at the congregation.
The rabbi said he spoke to President Donald Trump by phone, and described the call as comforting.
He called on the Jewish community to show up to temple this weekend to show solidarity with the congregation and the shooting victims.
“This Friday night go to your synagogue,” Goldstein said. “We need to fill up this room. we need to show them that terrorism, evil, will never prevail.”
–Staff and wire reports