FBI says received vague tips ahead of deadly California synagogue shooting

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By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – The FBI stated on Monday it obtained a number of tips on a safety menace minutes earlier than a gunman opened hearth in a California synagogue, killing a girl and wounding three others, however lacked ample particulars or time to forestall the assault.

Police are investigating what motivated a 19-year-old suspect to open hearth on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in suburban San Diego on Saturday, together with whether or not to carry hate crime fees in opposition to the person who surrendered to police shortly after the assault.

The FBI stated it obtained tips on an internet publish referring to a possible assault that didn’t embody “particular” details about the publish’s creator or location. Investigators instantly started engaged on figuring out the creator however the capturing started solely 5 minutes after the information arrived.

“The FBI thanks the alert residents who noticed and reported the publish,” the bureau stated in a press release.

Members of the synagogue returned to the temple on Monday for the funeral of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, the congregant who was killed within the assault.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, one among three individuals who had been wounded, dropping his proper index finger within the capturing, presided over the memorial service. He clutched a single yellow flower in his bandaged hand from a bouquet Gilbert-Kaye had despatched him on the weekend earlier than her dying.

“There is a large backyard on the market. God took the rose of the backyard, and he introduced her as much as heaven,” Goldstein stated. “We noticed the darkest of humanity. I noticed it head to head. I want to by no means see that ever once more.”

Mourners additionally applauded the heroism of one other of their congregants, Oscar Stewart, 51, a U.S. Military and Navy veteran who served in Iraq and who confronted the gunman within the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday and chased the assailant outdoors.

The capturing occurred six months to the day after 11 worshippers had been shot to dying at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest assault ever on American Jewry.

‘TERRIFYING MYSTERY’

The accused gunman in Saturday’s bloodshed, recognized by authorities as John Earnest, fled the scene however known as police a short while later to be able to give up.

Earnest, who’s being held with out bail, seems to have written an internet manifesto through which he additionally claimed duty for a pre-dawn arson assault at a close-by mosque final month and professed inspiration from the mass capturing at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 individuals in March.

His dad and mom expressed shock and disappointment in a press release on Monday, saying their son had change into “a part of the historical past of evil” perpetrated on Jewish individuals.

“How our son was drawn to such darkness is a terrifying thriller to us,” the assertion stated. “Our heavy hearts will without end exit to the victims and survivors.”

They stated they had been cooperating with investigators.

Stewart stated in an interview on Monday he was sitting within the temple sanctuary throughout Sabbath providers when he acknowledged the sound of gunshots.

For a second he started working towards the exit with different congregants, then rotated and headed towards the gunfire.

“I used to be an instrument of God,” he stated. “I had no acutely aware effort in what I used to be doing.” He charged the gunman, screaming, “I will kill you!”

He stated he pursued the gunman, who appeared frightened and had stopped firing, when he fled the synagogue.

One other worshipper, an off-duty U.S. Customs and Border Safety agent named Jonathan Morales who was armed, additionally ran outdoors and fired a number of pictures on the gunman’s automotive as he drove away.

Almog Peretz, an Israeli citizen visiting his household, was hit however nonetheless managed to assist shepherd youngsters to security, witnesses stated.

His 9-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, was additionally wounded. Her household moved to america from Israel in quest of a safer life after their residence was repeatedly shelled by Palestinian rockets.

Gilbert-Kaye, one of many synagogue’s founding members, was a deeply caring member of the group, her mates remembered.

She drove one congregant who had developed breast most cancers to each appointment and helped deal with her youngsters, Goldstein stated.

“She is an individual of unconditional love,” Goldstein advised reporters, including that he felt Gilbert-Kaye “took the bullet for all of us.”

A good friend, Audrey Jacobs, described her in a Fb publish as a “girl of valor” whose closing act was to guard others.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Extra reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Rollo Ross in Los Angeles; Modifying by Scott Malone, Invoice Trott and Invoice Berkrot)

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