Synagogue hero: “God gave me the courage”

POWAY, Calif. (NBC News) – Horror has given way to heartache in San Diego’s Jewish community, two days after witnesses say 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye jumped in between a gunman and Rabbi Yisreol Goldstein during an attack at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.

Army veteran Oscar Stewart was praying when he heard the shots. He rushed toward the gunman, chasing him from the temple.

“I don’t think there is any other reason other than God gave me the courage to do it,” Stewart says.

The alleged gunman, 19-year-old John Earnest, surrendered to police just after the shooting.

On Monday his family released a written statement calling the attack an “evil and despicable act” and saying “Our heavy hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors. We pray for peace.”

Earnest has no prior record.

The FBI says Earnest posted an anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim letter online just minutes before the attack. In the hate-filled message he said he was inspired by attacks on houses of worship in New Zealand and Pittsburgh.

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