Trump Praises Hero Off-Duty Officer Who Engaged Synagogue Shooter
Although officials are not publicly naming the off-duty Border Patrol officer who intervened in Saturday’s synagogue shooting in California, his actions are being hailed by President Donald Trump.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
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
San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters that the agent fired at suspect John Earnest as he left the scene of the attack at the Chabad of Poway that left one woman dead and three people injured. The agent did not hit Earnest but a nearby car.
Soon after the incident, Earnest gave police his location and surrendered to police.
Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner John Sanders said a Border Patrol agent based in the region was involved.
“We have learned that one of our own off-duty Border Patrol agents was present and took actions that may have prevented additional loss of life,” Sanders said in a statement, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Hate and violence against anyone because of their race, ethnicity or religion has no place in our society,” the statement added, Reuters reported. “CBP will fully support our law enforcement partners who are investigating.”
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein said the agent has recently discovered that he had Jewish heritage and comes to the synagogue from El Centro, California, along the Mexican border.
“I had spoken to him in the past about coming to the synagogue armed because he’s trained, and I want trained security as much as possible. 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,” Goldstein said.
Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, executive director of Chabad of San Diego County, said Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway was killed during the shooting, which took place on the final day of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“In the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country,” Fradkin said in a statement. “We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate. We are deeply shaken by the loss of a true woman of valor, Lori Kaye, who lost her life solely for living as a Jew.”
The shooting suspect is being linked to online publications to a man of the same name identifying himself as a white supremacist and “anti-Semite,” The Washington Post reported.
Goldstein, who was shot in the hand Saturday, spoke to CNN about the attack.
“This has to stop. The constitution of the United States guarantees freedom and religion for all faith. You know, we’re so lucky and fortunate to live in a country that protects our rights to live as proud Jews. We’re still recovering from the Holocaust. We found a haven to live as free people and yet, we’re being mowed down like animals like we’re Nazi Germany. And this has to stop,” the rabbi said.
“But you know what? We’re not going to be intimidated or deterred. Terror will not win and as Americans, we can’t and won’t cower in the face of this senseless hate of what’s called anti-Semitism,” he added.
Goldstein offered a way to push back against the darkness of hate.
“A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. We need a lot of light now. This coming Saturday, I personally feel I want to appeal to all the Jewish people to make an effort to attend synagogue. We need to fill up those rooms, not run away from synagogue. On the contrary, let’s fill up the synagogues,” he said.
“Let us show these terrorists, let us show these evil, wicked people, they will not do anything to hinder us from being proud Jews, and for being proud people walking the freedom of America.”
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