Funeral for US synagogue shooting victim

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48096197

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe fatal shooting happened at a synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego

A funeral will be held on Monday for the victim of an attack at a California synagogue which killed one woman and injured three others.

Lori Kaye, 60, died after throwing herself in front of the congregation’s rabbi when a gunman opened fire on a Passover service.

A 19-year-old man, named as John Earnest, was later arrested in Poway, north of San Diego.

Police have not yet suggested a motive for the attack.

Mrs Kaye had been attending Chabad of Poway on Saturday with her daughter and husband when the attack took place.

She was one of the synagogue’s founding members when it first opened its doors in 1986.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was among those caught by the bullets, and lost his right index finger after he was shot in the hand.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionRabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks to reporters about Saturday’s attack

“Everyone in the community knew her,” he told reporters.

“I’m just so heartbroken and saddened by the senseless killing”.

A friend, Audrey Jacobs, was one of several people to pay their respects to Mrs Kaye on social media.

Mr Earnest, the suspected gunman, is due to appear in court on Wednesday.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters that investigators were reviewing the suspect’s social media activity and examining a virulently anti-Semitic “open letter” published online.

The shooting came exactly six months after 11 people were killed during an attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue. It is thought to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.

How did the attack unfold?

Sheriff Gore said officers were called to the Chabad synagogue just before 11:30 (18:30 GMT) after the man opened fire with an “AR-15 type” assault rifle.

He said an off-duty border patrol officer had fired at the suspect as he fled the scene in a vehicle, but had not not hit him.

The suspect was later arrested by another officer, said San Diego chief of police David Nisleit.

“He clearly saw the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect jumped out with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody,” Mr Nisleit said.

“As the officer was placing this 19-year-old male into custody, he clearly saw a rifle on the front passenger seat of the suspect vehicle.”

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told reporters that investigators were reviewing the suspect’s social media activity and examining a virulently anti-Semitic “open letter” published online.

In the letter, which appeared on the online forum 8chan hours before the attack, the author – who identified himself as John Earnest – said he had been inspired by the attack on two Christchurch mosques last month, as well as the Pittsburgh shooting last October.

The racist, anti-Semitic document that police are investigating in relation to the shooting makes 10 references to Robert Bowers – charged with killing 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh – whom the author John Earnest calls an “inspiration”.

Authorities later said Mr Earnest was under investigation in connection with a fire at a mosque last month.

How has the Jewish community reacted?

“All of the Jewish community across the country is concerned,” Joel Rubin, a Democratic Strategist and member of the Tree of Life synagogue, told Fox News on Saturday. “My daughters go to Hebrew school and we see police cars often in front of the school, guarding it. That’s not the situation in America we want to be living in.”

Meanwhile, the Times of Israel published a blog post headlined, “Synagogue shootings – now a thing”.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

A message of support outside the Chabad synagogue near San Diego

In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh attack, members of the US Jewish community began openly questioning whether the era of seeing the US as a safe haven was over.

“I had been dreading and expecting this day, and more like it, for two years,” wrote the Washington Post columnist Dana Millbank, in a column titled “Trump’s America is not a safe place for Jews”.

Mr Trump has publicly condemned anti-Semitism, and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said it was “outrageous” to suggest he bore any responsibility for it, but many have accused him of using coded anti-Semitic language.

The ADL publicly called on him to stop using tropes such as “global special interests” and “those who control the levers of power” – both of which he ran in an ad alongside pictures of prominent Jews – as well as his claim that there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville, after white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *