While one was killed and more were wounded in this weekend's shooting at a synagogue near San Diego, the death toll could have been much, much worse. Writing at The Times of Israel, Debra Kamin tells us about a border patrol agent who had been driving 3.5 hours to worship at the synagogue after rediscovering his Jewish roots:
Jonathan Morales, an armed off-duty US Customs and Border Patrol agent who recently discovered his Jewish roots, was among the worshipers at Chabad of Poway on Saturday when John Earnest entered the synagogue near San Diego during Passover services and began shooting...
“Morales recently discovered his Jewish roots. He would travel three and a half hours from [the California town of] El Centro to pray with us at our shul,” Goldstein told media at a Sunday press conference outside the synagogue. “He felt this was his house of worship. And many times I said, ‘Jonathan, you work for the border patrol. Please arm yourself when you are here; we never know when we will need it...’”
As for why there weren’t any active duty guards at the synagogue, in an earlier interview with CNN Goldstein said, “Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to have an armed security officer at every service, so whenever we had extra help, we were grateful for it.”
In a moment that Goldstein referred to as “miraculous,” Earnest’s gun jammed, and congregant Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old Army veteran, and Morales attempted to subdue the gunman. Morales was also able to open fire and give pursuit.
After Earnest fled the building, Morales followed in his own vehicle and shot and hit Earnest’s car. Earnest soon turned himself in to law enforcement.