On Saturday April 27, 2019, a gunman identified in media reports as 19-year-old John Earnest opened fire inside the Chabad Congregation in Poway, California, leaving one dead and three injured.
The assault, which took place on the last day of Passover, occurred exactly six months after Robert Bowers’ deadly shooting rampage at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 congregants dead and two more wounded. It also comes on the heels of fatal attacks on two mosques in New Zealand and a number of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. According to reports, the gunman entered the synagogue armed with an AR-style firearm and a handgun, and called 911 on himself as he drove away from the attack.
ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt released the following statement in response to the shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, near San Diego, Calif.:
We are devastated by the shooting at the Chabad synagogue. This was an attack on an Orthodox congregation but, more than that, an attack on the entire Jewish community.
At ADL, we grieve for the innocent who lost their lives. We pray for the victims who were wounded or traumatized by the attack. And we mourn for Jews in Poway and around the world because our collective sacred space was shattered with this heinous act of violence. We are grateful to law enforcement authorities and local leaders for their swift and determined response after this brutal hate crime.
It’s truly heartbreaking to see yet another tragedy on Shabbat but also on a day when we celebrate the end of the Passover festival. It also the six month anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the most violent anti-Semitic incident in American history.
This shooting is a reminder of the reality and virulence of anti-Semitism. It must serve as a call to action for us as a society to deal once and for all with hate. Jewish people and those of all faiths should not have to live in fear of going to their house of worship. From Charleston to Pittsburgh to Oak Creek and from Christchurch to Sri Lanka, and now Poway, we need ito say “enough is enough.” People in position of authorities, from elected officials to tech CEOs, need to stand united against hate and address it, not only after it happens, but by enforcing norms and standing for our shared values long before such a crime takes place