San Diego Shooting Attack Kills One and Injures three Including an Israeli Girl from Sderot

by Avi Abelow

Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway, CA, was murdered in a shooting at Chabad of Poway in San Diego, CA on the last day of the Passover holiday. Witnesses said she jumped in front of Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, the son of the synagogue’s founding rabbi, to save his life. Lori leaves behind a husband and 22-year-old daughter. Eight-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle Almog Peretz, both from Sderot, Israel, were also injured in the shooting attack. Having moved to San Diego to escape the Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot, they were then injured in a terror attack in the United States.

May Lori’s memory be a blessing, and may the wounded have a speedy recovery.

The Attack

As posted on facebook by Shachar Dawn Banin: Rabbi Goldstein’s nephew just visited him in the hospital. His mother (Rabbi Goldstein’s sister) explains what happened: 
Rabbi Goldstein was washing his hands and getting ready to return for the Yizkor memorial prayer when he saw the shooter in the hallway shoot Mrs. Kaye. Rabbi Goldstein looked at the shooter who was about to shoot him. Rabbi Goldstein then grabbed the gun which went off and he lost two fingers. After that shot, the gun jammed.

An off-duty police officer who was at the synagogue to say Yizkor, was standing there, and he chased the shooter who fled to his car and was eventually captured. Rabbi Goldstein said it was miracles upon miracles.

Rabbi Goldstein is recovering from an eight hour surgery. He is a true hero who stopped the continuation of the shooting from taking place.

Eyewitness Accounts

“We came from fire to fire,” said Israel Dahan, Noya’s father, referring to the family’s move from the rocket-battered Gaza-border town of Sderot to California.

Dahan told Israel Radio that the family’s home in Sderot had been hit by rockets several times over the years, and that he was injured on one of those occasions.

After moving to the US several years ago, he said, the family’s new home was targeted — this time by anti-Semites, who spray-painted swastikas on the walls.

“It can happen anywhere. We are strong,” he said. “This is sad, but I am originally from Sderot, so we know a bit about running from the Kassam rockets,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 from his hospital bed.

“A person with a big rifle, like an M16, entered the synagogue and started shooting everywhere,” Peretz recalled. “At first, we thought the ceiling had collapsed. But then I turned around and saw he was aiming his weapon at me. There were many small kids next to me,” he continued. “I took a little girl, who was our neighbor, and three nieces of mine and ran. I opened the back door and we ran with all the children to a building in the back. I hid them in that building.”

“As I picked up the girl, the terrorist aimed his weapon at me. I was injured in the leg.” Peretz said he then returned to the synagogue, fearing for another of his nieces. “I came back because one of my nieces was stuck in the bathroom. I had to go back and bring her,” he said. “Fortunately she stayed there and the terrorist had already left.”

Another Israeli congregant, Shimon Abitbol, said he had taken one of his grandsons outside the synagogue hall during the service, and that he was returning when he heard the gunshots. “Without thinking twice, I lay down on my grandson and protected him,” he said. “After I counted seven or eight gunshots and there was a lull — I assume the weapon jammed — I took the grandson and rushed outside through a side door; we gathered all the children there.”

Abitbol said he then returned to the prayer hall and saw that Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, “a truly amazing person, suffered bullets to his hands. He covered his wounds with a tallit [prayer shawl] — a very surrealistic sight.”

Abitbol, who is a paramedic with Magen David Adom, then attempted to treat Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in the attack. “I didn’t find a pulse,” he said. “Her husband who is a medical doctor, came to me and said, ‘Listen, this is my wife.’ He then fainted. It was a very, very difficult moment.”

A young Israeli man, identified only by his first name, Gil, was quoted by Channel 12 as saying he saved himself by hiding from the gunman under a table. “I saw the terrorist running fast toward the synagogue with a rifle,” he said. “I immediately began running toward an open room. The terrorist shot a woman sitting in the front in the stomach — that was the first gunshot. He shot her twice more and I heard her scream.”

“Then he noticed me and started shouting at me: ‘You’d better run, son of a bitch.’ He started running toward me, I jumped into the room and hid under the table. He didn’t find me and ran in another direction.”

Regina and Gil Pasternak were in the Chabad synagogue with their son. Regina said, “My husband Gil went to the synagogue in the morning, as usual, around 10 AM. Around 11:30 PM, my husband called to say that there was a terrorist attack. The terrorist entered, 19 years old, older than my son, finished high school here in our area. He entered the synagogue. At the entrance he killed a woman with three shots to the stomach.”

Gil related, “I was at the entrance to the synagogue. The first thing I saw was a man with a gun who was really running, I thought to run away, I started running and he was also running. I ran toward a room I knew was open and hid under one of the tables.”

“He did not notice me at first, he shot the woman who was at the entrance, three times, and then he noticed me as I was about to reach the room and started yelling at me, ‘run, you son of a b***h.’ I ran into the room, dove under a table and hid underneath. The terrorist went into the room, he understood that I was hiding so he went into the main hall and fired six or seven times,” he added.

Gil noted that he understood straightaway that a shooting attack was underway. “I knew exactly what was happening, I heard a screaming, I head a little girl scream, ‘Mommy, I’m afraid,’ I heard a woman screaming, ‘Oh my G-d, he shot her.’ Everyone ran away and hid, and fortunately I then began to hear shots from another gun. We had a security man in the synagogue, he scared the terrorist and the terrorist fled.”

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