A man is in custody after opening fire in a synagogue on Saturday. At least one person was killed during the shooting, and several more were injured. The incident took place on the last day of Passover and, it appears the crime was a hate crime based on statements the shooter made to the congregation.
The shooting took place at Congregation Chabad in Poway, California – about 20 miles north of San Diego – at approximately 11:30 am local time. After the shooting, according to a report by CNN, four patients were received at Palomar Medical Center Poway.
Law enforcement stated that one woman died from her injuries. Vaus said that three wounded individuals had non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooter was stopped by an armed worshipper, described as an off-duty Border Patrol Agent who was carrying a handgun. The agent engaged the suspect, returned fire, and caused him to retreat from the building.
Describing the shooting, Vaus stated that he believed it was a hate crime “because of statements that were made when the shooter entered.” He said the synagogue was targeted by an individual “with hate in their heart… towards our Jewish community and that just will not stand.”
The President reiterated the likelihood of the incident being a hate crime in a statement on the matter. ‘Based on my last conversations, it looks like a hate crime. Hard to believe,’ Trump said. ‘My deepest sympathies go to the families who were affected.’
‘It looks like the person has been apprehended, no more danger, and law enforcement has done a fantastic job,’ he continued.
Vaus added that the congregation “took security very seriously.”
“I also understand from folks on the scene that this shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,” said Vaus.
According to a witness, there were six or seven shots followed by screams and a second volley of shots.
Minoo Anvari – a member of the congregation – said he husband was present during the shooting. Anvari says her husband heard the shooter screaming and cursing before he opened fire.
A 19-year-old man was taken into custody and is being detained in connection with the shooting. As a precaution, law enforcement is conducting additional patrols at other places of worship, though there are not any known additional threats.