Rabbi loses finger in attack, protected children | News Coverage from USA

Rabbi loses finger in attack, protected children

The rabbi injured in Saturday’s San Diego synagogue attack preached to his congregation as they huddled in fear and his own hands bled following the shooting that killed one of his oldest friends and supporters.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein said he watched the gunman shoot Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, who friends say took the other bullets intended for Goldstein as he rushed to evacuate children, including his own granddaughter.

Witnesses say it appears the shooter’s AR-style rifle jammed, and he fled while being shot at by an armed congregant, an off-duty Border Patrol agent.  Accused gunman John T. Earnest, 19, of San Diego, is a nursing student at Cal State University San Marcos who lived about seven miles from the synagogue.

Goldstein said he lost his index finger in the shooting and is recovering in the hospital, his hands heavily bandaged. 

 

“I have lived through this horror for a reason. We have been taught anything that you see and hear in life you need to take a lesson and do something with it,” Goldstein said on CNN, his Brooklyn accent still strong after more than 30 years in California. “Missing a finger is just a finger. But God didn’t want me to die yesterday. God wants me to continue on being his emissary and to be a partner.”

Goldstein said Gilbert-Kaye was one of his oldest friends and earliest supporters of the Chabad of Poway. He said he was in the synagogue’s banquet hall when he heard a loud noise and turned, thinking Gilbert-Kaye had fallen. That’s when Goldstein came face-to-face with the man he called a terrorist.

“As soon as he saw me, he started to shoot toward me and that’s when I put my hands up and my fingers got blown away,” he said on Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist on NBC. “Then he continued on and killed Lori Kaye right there on the spot.”

Two other worshippers were injured in the attack.

Goldstein said he rushed the congregation’s children to safety, and while waiting for authorities to arrive, began speaking. He said he initially didn’t realize he’d been shot, because he was focused on getting people to safety.

“I got up there and I just spoke from my heart, just giving everyone the courage to know – it was just 70 years ago during the Holocaust we were gunned down like this and I just want to let our fellow Americans know we’re not going to let this happen here,” he told NBC. “Not here in San Diego. Not here in Poway. Not here in the United States of America.”

Authorities say the suspect in the shooting posted an online manifesto in which he attacked Jews and Muslims and celebrated mass killings around the world.

 

 

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