(May 1, 2019 / JNS) U.S. special envoy for Mideast peace negotiations Jason Greenblatt visited Chabad of Poway in Southern California on Wednesday in the aftermath of the shooting during Shabbat-morning services that left one woman dead and three injured.
He is the most senior Trump administration official yet to visit the site.
“We must continue to stamp out anti-Semitism & all other forms of hate. Rabbi [Yisroel] Goldstein is a pillar of strength for his community/our nation. A very moving visit. He & others acted heroically. I shared the Administration’s heartfelt sorrow for Poway’s loss & thanked him for his message to turn a hateful act into a lesson on tolerance,” he tweeted.
On this eve of #YomHashoah I went to #Poway – a somber reminder that we must continue to stamp out anti-Semitism & all other forms of hate. As @POTUS said last Oct., anti-Semitism “is an assault on humanity. It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its ugly head.”
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 1, 2019
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack and three others injured, including the founding rabbi of the Chabad center and an 8-year-old girl.
An off-duty Border Patrol agent who was in the synagogue, which is located about a half-hour outside of San Diego, fired at the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, hitting his car. The gunman fled the scene, but was soon apprehended without incident after he called 911 to admit to committing the crime, in addition to providing his location.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Earnest was armed with an “AR-type assault weapon,” and added that he was being interviewed by the FBI and detectives.
The attack occurred exactly six months after the deadliest shooting in American Jewish history, when a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Earnest pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to murder and hate-crime charges. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life without parole or the death penalty, despite California’s moratorium on capital punishment.