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Poway mayor Steve Vaus assures support, strength in wake of tragic synagogue shooting

Posted at 8:25 AM, Apr 28, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:50:29-05

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) -- Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has worked to remain a constant reassuring presence since a gunman opened fire on a group of worshippers celebrating one of the holiest days of Passover inside a north San Diego County synagogue.

Vaus has been meeting with residents and congregants, gathering and sharing information with the public, and offering a warm embrace to those affected by Saturday morning's tragedy.

"They are our brothers and sisters, we're going to walk through this with them every step of the way," said Vaus, expressing solidarity with the Jewish congregation of the Chabad of Poway.

Authorities said the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, fired an AK-type assault rifle inside the synagogue as Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was conducting service at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Goldstein and three others were wounded in the shooting.

One of the victims, Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway, died from her injuries. Goldstein, Noya Dahan, 8, and Almog Peretz, 34, have been hospitalized and are recovering from their injuries.

Interactive Map: Poway synagogue shooting emergency

Moments after the shooting, Vaus condemned the attack saying, "Hate has no place in ANY community... least of all Poway. "

Since then, the mayor has been resolute in unifying the community. Before the first light of day early Sunday morning, Vaus stood outside the synagogue to assure the public that his city will be closer and stronger.

"First and foremost, we wrap our arms around the Chabad of Poway congregants," Vaus told 10News reporter Natay Holmes. "Just want them to know the community stands with them."

Vaus said he's met with some of the worshippers to offer them support and to let them know that there will increased patrols while the community copes with the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

"I think the folks of Chabad of Poway are scared ... to be under attack like that," Vaus said.

"Hate is always going to come knocking on somebody's door you just never think it's going to be your own," Vaus said. "It's all in how you respond to that hatred, and this community is going to step up and work together."

RELATED: What to know about 19-year-old Poway synagogue shooting suspect John Earnest