San Diego

Border Patrol Agent Hailed a Hero for Action Taken in Synagogue Shooting

What to Know

  • Shots were fired inside Chabad of Poway on April 27 at 11:23 a.m.
  • One person - Lori Gilbert-Kaye - was killed and three others were injured including the synagogue's rabbi.
  • A San Diego man, 19, faces multiple felony charges in the shooting as well as arson for a fire at a mosque in Escondido in March.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jonathan Morales was off-duty when a gunman walked into his synagogue on the last day of Passover. Morales, who is credited with firing a weapon at the gunman as he fled the scene, was hailed as a hero Thursday at the National Day of Prayer ceremony at the White House.

"It was supposed to be a joyous, festive event and we were attacked with our backs turned," Morales said.

"Brave people stood up and confronted this person and we ended the situation the best we could with the resources we had." 

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After Morales spoke, President Donald Trump shook his hand and said, "We're proud of you."

It's the first time we've heard from the U.S. Border Patrol agent whom the synagogue's rabbi said had only recently reconnected with his Jewish heritage. 

Trump invited others connected to the shooting to Thursday's ceremony: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway, who was wounded in the shooting, and Oscar Stewart, a U.S. Army veteran who rushed toward the gunman even though he was unarmed. 

See our coverage of the ceremony here.

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