Following the shooting over the weekend in which a gunman opened fire at a Chabad center in Southern California and killed one person, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences Monday morning.
“I spoke at length yesterday to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway, where I extended my warmest condolences to him and all affected by the shooting in California,” the president tweeted. “He had a least one finger blown off, and all he wanted to do is help others. Very special!”
Goldstein, per The Hill, put his hands up when the gunman approached him. The fatality in the shooting, Lori Kaye, reportedly stepped in front of the rabbi, whom she knew for 25 years.
Rabbi Goldstein addressed the media from his hospital bed Sunday, per CBS News, stating that “we need to battle darkness with light.” He had also confirmed in the press conference that he had spoken with the president following the shooting and thanked him for providing comfort.
Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, also thanked the president for calling the rabbi following the incident, per Fox News.
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, who opened fire with an AR-15-like rifle at the Chabad of Poway during worship services on Saturday morning. While he fled the scene alive, Earnest was later arrested and taken into custody. The accused shooter’s gun was said to have jammed during the shooting, which was one reason that more people weren’t killed; he also failed in an attempt to stream the shooting on Facebook Live.
Rabbi Goldstein urged the nation's public schools to reintroduce a moment of silence at the start of each school day. https://t.co/6KRyN4Va2G
— CNSNews.com (@cnsnews) April 29, 2019
Per The Los Angeles Times, a manifesto attributed to Earnest was posted to the Internet message board 4Chan, in which he made anti-Semitic remarks, blamed Jews for immigration, and praised such past murderers as accused Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. The shooting also took place six months to the day after the deadly Tree of Life synagogue shooting.
Following the Tree of Life shooting last October, Trump visited the synagogue, although the president was criticized by some at the time for using heated political rhetoric, much of it related to the caravan of migrant workers that was then heading through Mexico. Bowers, in his own manifesto, had also referenced the caravan as well as fringe conspiracy theories that Jews were responsible for bringing immigrants from Central America to the United States.
It’s unclear if Trump has any plans to visit the scene of the Poway shooting.