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A shooting has been reported at the Chabad of Poway in California, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. A man has been detained for questioning, the SDSO’s Poway Station tweeted Saturday. The synagogue was hosting a Passover celebration on Saturday.
Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said at least one person was killed and three others were injured. The synagogue’s rabbi was shot in the hand and wounded. Vaus said the shooting “was a hate crime.”
“Be aware of increased law enforcement activity in the 16000 block of Chabad Way as @SDSOPoway Deputies investigate reports of a man with a gun. Please stay clear of the area and allow deputies to safely do their job. Thank you for your patience and cooperation,” the sheriff’s office said on Twitter. In an update, the sheriff’s office tweeted, “A man has been detained for questioning in connection with a shooting incident at the Chabad of Poway synagogue. @SDSOPoway Deputies were called to Chabad Way just before 11:30 a.m. There are injuries. This is a developing situation.”
According to KGTV, multiple people were shot. Their conditions were not immediately known. At least four victims were taken to the hospital, the news station reports.
San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore tweeted, “Those wounded in the Chabad of Poway #synagogueshooting were taken to Palomar Medical Center @PalomarHealth. Please respect the medical privacy of victims & their families during this difficult time. Remain clear of the area as this investigation will take several hours.”
A photo tweeted by a local reporter shows police, fire and other emergency responders at the scene:
Another photo showed several police vehicles and an apparently active scene:
The synagogue is located at 16934 Chabad Way. According to an event announcement, Chabad of Poway was celebrating its Passover Holiday Celebration on Saturday. It was set to begin at 11 a.m. and end at 7 p.m. with a final Passover meal.
On Facebook, Chabad of Poway said about the celebration, “Experience the Priestly blessing during the prayer service,” and said there would be a “Yizkor Memorial Service,” and “Final Holiday Meal with Matzah, Wine and Appetizers.” The Chabad of Poway added, “The Seder celebrates our past redemption, while the final meal is celebrated in anticipation of Moshiach and the coming redemption.”
The shooting has occurred exactly six months to the day of when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 worshippers and wounding several others. The accused shooter in that mass shooting was arrested. He was motivated by his anti-Semitic views, according to investigators.
According to its website, “Chabad of Poway has become a popular center for Jews of all backgrounds who want to learn more about their Jewish roots. Chabad offers a wide variety of educational and spiritual opportunities, including Torah classes and lectures, Shabbaton dinners, and an array of family and social activities. Traditional Jewish values are brought to life in a joyous, non-judgmental atmosphere.”
The website added, “Chabad serves all segments of the Jewish community. Everyone is welcome regardless of their personal level of religious observance. The philosophy is in keeping with the Chabad-Lubavitch approach of joy, scholarship and unconditional acceptance and love for every Jew. The services are traditional, and are conducted in a joyous, casual atmosphere. Children are included and most welcome. Many of those who attend cannot read Hebrew, yet everyone feels at home. The prayer book is bi-lingual and various English readings are included in the service. Song and commentary add meaning and participation to the prayers.”
The Chabad is led by Rabbi Mendel and Shterna Goldstein, with the additional guidance of Rabbi & Rebbetzin Emeritus Rabbi Yisroel & Devorie Goldstein, who established the Chabad and community center in 1986. Mendel and Shterna Goldstein moved from Brooklyn to take over the Chabad in 2015.