Passover shooting at Poway synagogue near San Diego | News Coverage from USA

Passover shooting at Poway synagogue near San Diego

A gunman opened fire in a temple near San Diego on Saturday the last day of Passover, killing one person and injuring three, including a rabbi addressing the congregation, authorities said. A suspect was detained by police.

“It was a hate crime, and that will not stand,” Steve Vaus, mayor of Poway, told MSNBC. Vaus later told CNN the shooter made hateful statements when he entered the synagogue. 

“This shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,” Vaus told CNN.

The incident occurred on the last day of Passover at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, which was scheduled to hold a holiday celebration that started at 11:00 a.m. PDT. The sheriff’s office was alerted to an incident at 11:30 a.m.

Sgt. Aaron Meleen of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told reporters the shooter came into the temple, but was not there when officers arrived. He said the shooter was detained down the street away from the synagogue. 

People are in “varying states of injuries,” he said, adding that it was an “extremely chaotic scene, with people running everywhere.”

The rabbi was shot in the hand, Vaus said.

After the shooting, the rabbi continued to speak, Minoo Anvari, a witness, told a local NBC TV affiliate. She said one of her friends, a woman, was shot.

The shooting has caused chaos and confusion for families, Anvari said, because it is the Sabbath and many members could not use their cell phones for religious reasons.

Poway is about 25 miles northeast of San Diego. 

“A man has been detained for questioning in connection with a shooting incident at the Chabad of Poway synagogue,” the sheriff’s department said in a tweet. “Deputies were called to Chabad Way just before 11:30 a.m. There are injuries. This is a developing situation.”

On the synagogue’s Facebook page, worshipers had been invited to “experience the Priestly blessing during the prayer invocation.” It was to be followed by a final Passover meal at 7 p.m. 

The shooting comes one month after a shooting at a mosque in New Zealand that killed 50 and less than one week after a series of explosions in Sri Lanka targeted churches and hotels killed 253 on Easter Sunday. 

Exactly six months before this Passover shooting, an October attack at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue killed 11.

This is a developing story. Check back at USATODAY.com for more details. 

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