Despite the fact that officials aren’t publicly naming the off-duty Border Patrol officer who intervened in the synagogue shooting in California on Saturday, President Trump is praising the man’s actions. In a tweet posted by Trump, he wrote: “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!”
San Diego Sherriff Bill Gore explained to reporters that the Border Patrol agent fired at the suspect, John Earnest, as he left the scene of the attack, which occurred at the Chabad of Poway. The horrendous attack left one woman dead and three people with injuries. The border patrol agent didn’t hit the suspect, but a car nearby, instead.
Soon after the attack happened, Earnest told the police where he was, and surrendered when they showed up. John Sanders, the acting commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, said that a Border Patrol agent that was based in the area was involved with the situation.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sanders said: “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.” According to Reuters, Sanders’ statement continued by saying: “Hate and violence against anyone because of their race, ethnicity or religion has no place in our society. CBP will fully support our law enforcement partners who are investigating.”
According to the Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the agent was at the synagogue because he had recently discovered that he was of Jewish heritage. “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,” said Rabbi Goldstein.
Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, the executive director of Chabad of San Diego Country, explained that 60-year-old Lori Kaye of Poway was killed during the attack, which occurred on the final day of the Jewish Holiday, Passover. In a statement released by Fradkin, he said: “In the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country. 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.”
According to The Washington Post, the shooting suspect is linked to an online publication to a man with the same name who identifies himself as an “anti-Semite” and a white supremacist. Receiving an injury to his hand, Goldstein 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,” said the rabbi.
He continued by saying: “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.”
In a way to offer some advice on how to combat the darkness, Goldstein said: “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.
After encouraging people to fill up the synagogues, Goldstein continued by saying: “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.”