Chabad Synagogue Shooting: Heroes and Perpetrator

Faye Higbee

There were heroes at the Chabad Synagogue Shooting on Saturday, as more information was released Sunday morning. An off-duty Border Patrol Agent, a Synagogue visitor who was shot and the Rabbi himself who was also shot were hailed as heroes. The perpetrator was identified as John T. Earnest, 19.

Almog Peretz, and his niece Noya Dahan, 8, had survived rocket attacks by Hamas in their hometown of Sderot, Israel, only to be wounded here in the US.


After the last shot, an armed Border Patrol agent, who was working as a security officer at the Passover service, opened fire at the shooter as he fled. The bullets did not hit the perp, but did strike the suspect’s vehicle. Earnest surrendered to law enforcement a short time later after calling 911 and telling them that he was the shooter.

“As the suspect was fleeing the temple, an off-duty Border Patrol agent opened fire on the suspect, but apparently did not hit him, but struck the car as it departed the area. The suspect was shortly taken into custody. The Border Patrol agent was working as a security officer at the synagogue.” Sheriff Bill Gore at the press conference

Then there was the K9 officer

“As this incident was unfolding, a San Diego Police Department K-9 officer was en route to the scene, he was monitoring both the San Diego police department’s dispatch and the sheriff’s dispatch, heard the call and started making his way to this call. As he was en route, he also overheard on the CHP scanner a suspect who had called into CHP to report that he was just involved in this shooting and his location, which was Rancho Bernardo and the Interstate 15… the officer clearly saw the suspect and his vehicle. The suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody by the San Diego Police Department. As the officer was taking this 19-year-old male into custody, he clearly saw a rifle sitting on the front passenger seat of the suspect’s vehicle.”
San Diego Police Chief Dave Nisleit at the press conference

Almog Peretz, Visitor

Then there was Almog Peretz, 34, who saved the children from the “hail of bullets.” He was a visitor to the synagogue that day, and as he heard the sound of bullets, he grabbed as many children as he could and ran for the exit. He was visiting from Sderot, Israel.

“He grabbed all the kids in his hands and was just running towards the exit [when] he saw another kid over there. He grabbed him and started running and [that’s when] the shooter shot him in the leg. He didn’t care. He kept on running with the kids and just ran out.” Danny Almog (via KTLA)

Peretz was recuperating in the hospital overnight after surgery.

“There were many small kids next to me. I took a little girl who was our neighbor and three nieces of mine and ran. I opened the back gate and we ran with all the children to a building in the back. I hid them in that building.” Almog Peretz to World Israel News

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein

Even though the Rabbi was shot in the hands, he tried to calm the shooter, and continued his sermon and attempted to calm congregants in the midst of the chaos. He may lose his right index finger in what was described as a “defensive injury.” The Rabbi also serves as a Jewish chaplain with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Rabbi Goldstein did not leave his congregation until he was finished speaking to them, calming their fears and pledging resilience.”
Minoo Anvari , Synagogue congregant

Perpetrator John Earnest

Around the time of the attack, Earnest posted a “manifesto” filled with hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric. He may also have been involved in an arson of a mosque in Escondido on March 24.

As authorities investigate, the only thing we need to know about this POS, is that he killed a woman named Lori Kaye Gilbert, and wounded three others, some of whom had already survived attacks from Hamas. Let’s remember the heroes and forget about the perpetrator.