The woman killed Saturday when a man opened fire at a California synagogue is being hailed as a hero after witnesses said she protected her rabbi during the attack, multiple news outlets are reporting.
According to CNN, witnesses said Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway, California, was shielding 57-year-old Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from the gunman when she was shot at Chabad of Poway.
Kaye was taken to the hospital, where she died, CNN reported.
"She didn't die a senseless death," Kaye's longtime friend, Roneet Lev, told CNN. "She died advertising the problem we have with anti-Semitism and to bring good to this world."
Kaye, who went to the synagogue to pray for her late mother, is survived by her husband and adult daughter, Lev told CNN.
Chabad of San Diego County’s executive director, Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, said in a statement that three others were hurt in the shooting: Goldstein; Almog Peretz, 34; and Noya Dahan, 8.
Goldstein's index fingers were injured in the attack, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Meanwhile, Peretz suffered a gunshot wound to the leg as he led a group of children to safety, witnesses said. Dahan was hurt when shrapnel struck her face and leg, the newspaper reported.
“In the face of senseless hate, we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country,” Fradkin said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate. We are deeply shaken by the loss of a true woman of valor, Lori Kaye, who lost her life solely for living as a Jew.”
Police identified the suspected shooter as John T. Earnest, 19, of Rancho Penasquitos. The Union-Tribune reported that he appears to have written an anti-Semitic manifesto and claimed to have tried to burn down an Escondido mosque in March.
Earnest was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
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