One victim has died and three others remain at the hospital after a shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California (north San Diego County) on Saturday.
According to San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, a man armed with an AR-type assault weapon was reported just before 11:30 a.m. local time. Police arrested the 19-year-old suspect as he attempted to flee the scene. Victims have been transported to Palomar Medical Center with injuries.
Synagogue-goers who got separated during the shooting, or relatives looking for loved ones are being asked to head to Poway High School. The Family Assistance Center will be there providing assistance and information.
Residents are being asked to stay clear of the area, as the investigation is expected to take several hours. Police have closed the Eastbound Espola Rd. at Summerfield Lane and the Westbound Espola Rd at Avenida Florencia. These closures will remain in place through Sunday, April 28th.
Police are also urging caution and discretion – “Please don’t spread misinformation that could cause concern or panic. We urge you to allow deputies to safely do their job.”
The Chabad of Poway synagogue was scheduled to begin services marking the end of Passover at 11 a.m. Those services were to last until 7 p.m. with a final Passover meal.
Poway Mayor Steve Vous described the shooter as “someone with hate in their heart.”
“I want you to know, this is not Poway,” Mayor Steve Vous said. “Poway will stay strong, and we will always be a community that stands with each other.”
Members of the congregation have stated that the rabbi, who was wounded in the shooting, prayed for peace and called for unity after being shot, refusing to leave the synagogue for the hospital until his speech was complete.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement saying, “The Jewish community again is devastated. We stand with Chabad. It’s heartbreaking to see yet another tragedy on Shabbat, on Passover, exactly six months after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. ADL is working with the local community and law enforcement, monitoring the situation closely.”
Saturday’s shooting comes exactly six months after the shooting that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn on October 27, 2018.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as we have more information.