Funeral for Chabad of Poway victim | News Coverage from USA

Funeral for Chabad of Poway victim

A funeral service for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the woman killed in a shooting at Chabad of Poway near San Diego, will be held Monday as the synagogue community continues to mourn after the hate-fueled attack.

Kaye, 60, died taking bullets for Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was evacuating children from the synagogue after gunfire broke out, Goldstein said.

Three people, including Goldstein, were injured when a suspected gunman opened fire during a peaceful Passover service Saturday – exactly six months since the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittburgh. Authorities say the suspect in Poway, California, had posted an online “manifesto” in which he criticized Jews and celebrated the slayings of Muslims at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.

Here’s what we know Monday:

Who was Lori Gilbert-Kaye?

Kaye had been longtime friends with Goldstein and a devoted member of his congregation.

“Lori took the bullet for all of us,” Goldstein said a press conference Sunday.

The rabbi called Kaye a pioneer member of the congregation and “a person of unconditional love.” She had come to the temple that morning to honor her mother at a memorial service, he said. Goldstein said he greeted Kaye and then walked into the banquet hall to wash his hands.

“I walk two or three footsteps when I hear a loud bang,” Goldstein recalled.

He said he thought the noise could have been Kaye falling or a table tipping over in the lobby. Then he turned around and saw “the indescribable sight” of the gunman.

After two congregants had chased the gunman outside, Goldstein said he returned to the lobby and found Kaye lying on the floor.

Her husband had tried to resuscitate her, but he fainted and lay on the floor next to his wife. The couple’s daughter found her parents on the floor and started screaming, Goldstein said, calling it, “the most heart-wrenching sight I could have seen.”

“She died a sacred death. She died on the Sabbath. She died on Passover. She died in the synagogue. She died saving the rabbi’s life,” said longtime friend Roneet Lev.

Kaye leaves behind her husband and daughter.

More: Her ‘final good deed’: Woman hailed as hero after taking bullets to protect rabbi during synagogue shooting

More: Security boosted at mosques, synagogues after shooting; emotional rabbi lauds congregation’s bravery

What did the rabbi tell his congregation after the shooting?

After seeing Kaye and her family in the lobby, Goldstein said he grabbed a prayer shawl and wrapped his bloody arm and fingers, which had been shot.

As his congregation gathered outside, he said he knew he needed to do something.

“I got up on a chair right there and I looked at our congregation and I said, ‘Am Yisrael Chai!’” Goldstein said, his voice growing louder and stronger as he recalled the moment. “We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall. We will not let anyone or anything take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down.”

Goldstein said he spent four hours in surgery on Saturday, but still lost his finger.

The rabbi called on all Jewish people to attend synagogue next Friday and Saturday as a symbol of solidarity.

Who was the suspected gunman?

John T. Earnest, a 19-year-old student at Cal State University San Marcos, was charged Sunday with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

He allegedly used an AR-style assault weapon when he opened fire on the congregation.

Authorities say he posted a “manifesto” online in which he used repeated slurs and listed Adolf Hitler as an inspiration.

More: An ‘AR-type assault weapon’ was used in Poway synagogue shooting, police say. Was it legal in California?

More: California synagogue shooting: Suspect known as quiet, smart while authorities question if he was hateful

How did Trump respond?

President Donald Trump personally called Goldstein, a conversation the rabbi said was meaningful.

“He was just so comforting,” Goldstein said. “I’m really grateful to our president for taking the time and making that effort to share with us his comfort and consolation.”

Trump called the attack a hate crime before leaving the White House for a rally in Wisconsin on Saturday night and offered thoughts and prayers on Twitter.

“My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected – the families, the loved ones – by the, obviously – looks right now based on my last conversations – looks like a hate crime,” Trump said. “Hard to believe, hard to believe.” 

Contributing: Rebecca Plevin, Trevor Hughes, Kristin Lam and Chris Woodyard

 

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