Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was preparing for his Saturday service when he heard a deafening bang.
He thought a parishioner may have fallen, or that a table toppled over in the lobby.
When he turned to look from the synagogue’s banquet hall, he saw a man wearing sunglasses and holding an assault rifle.
“Here is a young man standing with a rifle, pointing right at me. And I look at him. He had sunglasses on, I couldn't see his eyes, I couldn't see his soul. I froze,” Goldstein told reporters on Sunday morning.
The rabbi raised his hands and bullets tore through his fingers. Then Lori Kaye, 60, jumped between the shooter and the rabbi.
“She came here because her mother recently passed away. And she wanted to honor her mother at the memorial service,” Goldstein said.
Kaye died and three others were injured in the shooting, which happened at Chabad of Poway synagogue on the final day of Passover.
John T. Earnest, 19, was detained in the shooting and being questioned by the FBI and homicide authorities.
He reportedly called police, saying “he was just involved in this shooting” and giving his location along Interstate 15.
An officer quickly spotted him, pulled him over and arrested him without incident. A rifle was found in the front passenger seat.
Goldstein suggested looking at education as a way to tackle hatred.
“How does he come here to a house of worship and do what he did,” he said. “Perhaps we need to go back a little earlier and think about, what are we teaching our children. What are we educating our children. We need to perhaps consider reintroducing in our public-school system a moment of silence where children can start the day with pausing and thinking, ‘Why am I created?’ ‘Why am I hear and what am I going to do?’ I hope we can grow from this. And we can become stronger from this.”
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