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At Least 4 Hospitalized After Synagogue Shooting Near San Diego; Affiliate KUSI Interviews Chabad of Poway Synagogue Member; Witness Describes Shooting at Synagogue; Interview with Mayor of Poway Steve Vaus on Synagogue Shooting. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 27, 2019 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:07] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: It is 4:00 eastern. 1:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We are for thing breaking news, reports of a shooting at a synagogue north of San Diego, California. And local hospitals saying it has received at least one patient as a result of this incident. The sheriff's office says one man has been detained for questioning.
CNN's Ryan Young is joining us now.
Ryan, what more have you learned?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are trying to learn as much as possible seeing what live feeds we can get out of that area. But I can tell you on this final day of Passover, sheriff's department does tell us basically one person is being transported to an area hospital. There could be as many as four victims of this.
So now we have live pictures here from San Diego. Poway is about 22 miles away from San Diego, about a 35 minute drive in the foothills. From what he we're told, this happened at the Chabad synagogue. And like I said, it is the final day of Passover.
Right now, of course, you do know that there is one person in custody. We have also learned that san Diego PD will provide have a protection to places of worship after this incident. So we are not clear exactly what has happened here. But we do know that the focus is on the synagogue right now. And of course more than likely law enforcement is trying to clear the area at this point to make sure that they have anyone who could have been involved in this and in a lockdown type of situation.
But once again, we have maybe potentially four victims involved in this, one person taken to the Palomar medical center in Poway. This all happening at 11:30 a.m. local time. And that is what we know so far as this investigation unfolds. And as we look at this video of emergency crews and first responders getting there to the scene, this will be a developing situation. And obviously, it will be interesting to see what police have been able to glean from what happened there as they have one person in custody - Ana.
CABRERA: OK, Ryan, stand by. I want to bring in Josh Campbell, CNN law enforcement analyst, former FBI supervisory agent.
And Josh, as we just look at these pictures right now, we are getting at least a peek as to what is happening on the ground. What do you see?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. So this is pretty telling whenever these incidents happened. Obviously getting actual visual of what is taking place, there are certain things that we can read based on the posture of law enforcement. Based on the affiliate coverage there, we didn't see a continued inflow of emergency vehicles. It appears as though the sheriff department's cruisers were all positioned out, staked on out there. So it doesn't look like there is an ongoing emergent situation, at least, so we can see from those images.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned earlier, this will be a lengthy investigation, not only forensic side. It is happening inside that building where the shooting took place in that vicinity. But also talking to witnesses who may have been there as well.
As Ryan mentioned, other houses of worship will now see an increased presence from law enforcement. That what we are hearing from law enforcement officials. One thing that our colleagues there at CNN center (INAUDIBLE) was actually looking at the Web site of this actual house of worship, and indicating that services start just after 10:00 a.m. and we hear reports that the shooting started around 11:30. So if this was someone intending to cause mass loss of life, this would have been a time where there would be a lot of people there. Again, that's a huge data point for law enforcement as they determine whether this was localized, whether this was actually a target. They are not going to take - leave a thing the chance right now. You will see that increased presence at houses of worship not only that area. We can expect probably across the country.
CABRERA: It is hard to believe that it was exactly six months ago today that we had the shootings at that Pittsburgh synagogue. How does that maybe factor into this investigation?
CAMPBELL: Yes, the Tree of Life, I remember we were covering that as the death toll there increased. And obviously, this has become an issue now that won't go away. The hatred that is being shown toward houses of worship. Again, this is something that really concerns law enforcement. And as they look in investigation, as you mentioned, lost on them won't be the fact that we are now six months. Anniversaries are always a key factor as you look into why someone may have done something.
And again, there is so much that we don't yet know. We really want to dig into who this person was. We are also waiting for the final confirmation from law enforcement that they actually have the person that they believe is responsible for this. So far, they have indicated that they are questioning someone, that doesn't mean that person has been taken into custody and has been arrested. That is what the community will need to hear, that they have actually arrested the person that they believe is responsible before they have that sense of comfort. And then we move into the next investigation that will continue on, why did the person do this?
CABRERA: And again, we don't have a lot of information, so we want to tread cautiously here. But I'm reading what we do know based on what the police have put out and they did call it a developing situation. They call this man who they have for questioning somebody who they detained in connection with the shooting incident at the Chabad Poway synagogue. So like you said, they seem to be treading carefully as well.
I know you are always working your sources with the FBI given your connection there. I don't think that it is clear yet whether there are federal law enforcement officials responding to this, do you know?
CAMPBELL: We haven't heard specifically that they are responding here. I can tell you based on us covering a number of these incidents that whenever the call goes out that there is some type of act of violence, that there maybe people that are in danger.
Law enforcement officers regardless of what agency they work for, regardless of the words on their shield, will rush to the location in order to help stop a threat. So we can expect whoever the closest law enforcement officers were there were responding.
And then also again as we mentioned, loss or no one is a fact that this is a house of worship. If this indeed turns out to be some type of hate crime, then you will likely see a more aggressive role by federal law enforcement as they work to determine exactly what happened and bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on this case. Again sharing information not only locally, but with others again trying to determine was this someone who acted alone or there are others that are possibly involved. There are so many different facets of an investigation like this. But to your point, we can expect all hands on deck at the outset. No one cares right who is in charge. Their goal is to simply find to stop the threat. Determine that there is no longer a threat to the community and we can expect that that is taking place right now.
[16:05:58] CABRERA: And one of the reasons I ask you about that question is because so often it seems like you, you know, you start hearing that federal officials are responding. That gives you a little bit of a sense of how they are interpreting what may have taken place here and a possible motive. The fact that we don't know about whether federal law enforcement officials on scene, I guess we just will have to wait and see how that plays out. But we are getting some images here from our affiliate KSWB. It does look like they have the area cordoned off and officials are just sort of standing by on scene. Not a lot of activity there, Josh. What do you think they are doing right now?
CAMPBELL: Yes. And again that is telling that we are not seeing the continued influx of ambulances for example and emergency personnel that would then respond to help, you know, save victims. We don't see that based on these images. So again, there is a lot we don't know, but that is one key point. At least it signals to us that there is not a continuing emergent threat at least by the posture of law enforcement. But this investigation that will now take place -- that will take
time. They will have to determine, you know, not only happened. Again, sadly we went through this with the tree of life synagogue where we had the emergent phase of that investigation and then it continued for some time as law enforcement came through and processed the entire scene, accounted for every round, every shell casing. And again, these investigations just, you know, simply take a lot of time. So we are going to see this play out regardless of what the motive of this person was.
But I have to tell you going back to what we were saying as far as whether this person is a subject or just someone who is a person of interest, law enforcement officers will have to make that determination very quickly. They will try to work as hard as they can to determine is this the person. Because if this isn't the person that is responsible, that means that there is an ongoing threat out there. And that is obviously something they are concerned about, the community is concerned about. Law enforcement officers again sadly have gotten very good at realizing that in this first hour after an incident, they have to get as much information as they can out to the public so we can expect to hear from authorities here sure (ph).
CABRERA: Again, last day of Passover. Six months since the Tree of Life synagogue, what kind of questions will the detained individual be asked?
CAMPBELL: Yes. So initially, what they are going to try to determine is did this person do what he did. And a lot of times what will happen is you will either come across someone who is proud of what they have done and they will tell you very quickly that, yes, I did this. In which case as a law enforcement officer, then you now move to the next phase of the investigation, try to determine did they act alone, are there others out there. But that is telling.
If the person doesn't cooperate or we've seen instances where perhaps the person is engaged by law enforcement and either injured or killed. Sometimes he will turn the weapon on themselves. That obviously makes it difficult for law enforcement to gather information. And so then it becomes incumbent on witness testimony to talk to people would are there obviously in a state of panic, but they need to gather the real time information.
Is this person the person the person that they saw with the gun? The person that they saw shooting? And if that is the case, then law enforcement can have that sense of confidence that they have their person. We haven't heard that yet from them. So again we are still very much in that breaking phase of this where we are waiting for those details. The community especially waiting for those details.
CABRERA: OK. Josh Campbell, thank you so much for that reporting, for helping us out with the analysis there. We are going to continue to follow the developments as we learn more information. We will of course pass along any new details to you.
Again the shooting scene right now is at a synagogue in Poway, California, not far from San Diego. What we understand was some services that may have been under way at the time. And there are injuries according to police. The extent of those injury, number of victims, again unknown at this time. We are working to get more information. We will pass that along.
Stay with us. You are watching CNN.
[16:13:09] CABRERA: Continuing to cover our breaking news, reports of a shooting at a synagogue north of San Diego, California. A local hospital tells us it has received at least one patient as a result of this incident. The sheriff's office says one man has been detained for questioning. And we just got this update now. The sheriff just tweeting those wounded in the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting were taken to Palomar medical center. Please respect the medical privacy of victims and their families during this difficult time. Remain clear of this area as this investigation will take several hours. Again, that from the San Diego county sheriff.
CNN's Ryan Young joins us now.
Ryan, what more can you tell us?
YOUNG: You know, obviously difficult news here. We know this is the final day of Passover. This Chabad was having services at the time when the shooting apparently happened. We do know maybe up to four patients could be on the way to that hospital at this point.
We finally started getting the live pictures of law enforcement on the scene here. From what we know, this happened around 11:30 local time. This is about 22 miles outside of San Diego. And we know that one person has been detained.
Now, this is one of the things that we have been talking about so far. We have been trying to look at the tweets and the information coming out of that area to make sure that there is no additional information. It doesn't know if there is an additional lockdown outside of this area right now as law enforcement obviously gathers to make sure the scene is safe. And there is the idea that according to what we have seen in some tweets if that one person has been detained. We have not learned any for are about the person who has been detained or the extent of the injuries so far and who may have been shot in that room. But I'm sure we'll get more information, Ana, as you can imagine as it becomes available.
But so far we are dealing with maybe up to four patients, maybe with some sort of trauma all starting at 11:30 at the Chabad synagogue in this final day of Passover which obviously will be tough.
We also want to add this. The San Diego police department has added extra patrols to places of worship because of this incident here.
[16:15:10] CABRERA: OK, Ryan, stand by.
I want to bring in Rina Nikano with our affiliate KGTV on the ground -- Rina. RINA NIKANO, REPORTER. KGTV: Good evening, everyone. My name is Rina
Nikano. We are here with a 10 news breaking news brief. And we just wanted to take you right here to the scene of an active shooter situation. We are here at the Poway Chabad community center in Poway on the corner of Summerfield and Espola.
At 11:40 sheriffs told us that there was an active shooter situation. They responded to that 911 call. We spoke to many neighbors who live in this area. They told me they heard about six to seven shots, a silence, a couple people screaming, then six to seven shots again. He told me he is not a gun expert however he did say it sounded something like a semiautomatic weapon.
We also spoke to a woman whose husband is currently still inside the Chabad community center. She told me that her husband told her over the phone that a woman was shot and taken to the hospital. He also said that the rabbi who was conducting service this morning was also shot. He had two fingers blown off of his hand but still tried to calm down the congregation and the shooter. He was later sent to the hospital as well.
Now, in terms of what is going on right now, this entire area has been as you can see taped off by the sheriff's department. They are telling me that there is no danger to the community anymore because they say that the shooter has been detained. He was detained a couple blocks away. Again, they don't believe there is any danger.
Now, they did not say anything about whether there is any other people who are injured. Earlier there were reports that there was a 12-year- old, an 11-year-old girl who had dispersed from the scene in the chaos and that were lost. We are hearing some helicopters hovering over the area. However, we are told that those girls were reunited with their families inside.
In terms of how many people were inside this building when this happened, still unsure. Right now authorities are conducting interviews with witnesses that are still inside right now. But again, this is the Poway Chabad community center where neighbors heard six to seven shots, then some screaming, then six to seven shots again.
A woman who says her husband is still inside here says that one woman was shot, that woman happens to be her friend. She is calling her right now on the cellphone. She believes that she is at Palomar hospital. Don't know her condition yet. The second person she believes that shot is the rabbi who was conducting services.
Now she says that he was shot in hand, two fingers may have been blown off and she believes that even while being injured, he tried to talk to the congregation and shooter to calm everyone down. He, too, has been sent to the hospital.
Now according to the sheriff's department again there is no more danger to the community as they were just able to detain someone just outside of this location of the Chabad. Now, just one thing to note is that right now is a holy holiday -- CABRERA: OK. We are going to step away there. Thank you very much.
That was a report from our affiliate KGTV. That was Rina Nikono describing what she has learned talking to some witnesses who were in that neighborhood. And others who apparently spoke to people who were inside that synagogue. Again, this happening near San Diego.
Joining us right now is the mayor of Poway, Steve Vaus, who is on the phone.
Mayor, I imagine there is a lot going through your mind right now. What have you learned about what has happened in your community today?
MAYOR STEVE VAUS, POWAY, CALIFORNIA (on the phone): Well, first let me tell you about our community. We are a community of 50,000, just outside of San Diego. We are a community that just a week ago all faiths came together just before Easter and Passover to find common ground and it was a fabulous event.
For this senseless tragedy to come so few days later, breaks my heart. I have unconfirmed reports that we have one fatality. I also have unconfirmed reports that the suspect is in custody. I can tell you with absolute certainty this community will come together, will put our arms around those that are hurting and we will get through it because that is the kind of community we are.
CABRERA: And again, we want to be very careful with the numbers. I know you have talked about unconfirmed reports. What we do have confirmed is that there are injuries according to local law enforcement and that people have been transported to the hospital. We heard in our affiliate report that there were at least six to seven gunshots that were heard by people in that neighborhood followed by silence, followed by another round of gunshots. And we also learned that there were services that were taking place at this synagogue that were set to begin, a Passover celebration on this last day of Passover set to begin at 11:00 a.m. And the first reports to police of a man with a gun came in around 11:30 according to local law enforcement. What more can you tell us, mayor, about this particular community center, this synagogue?
[16:20:30] VAUS: This synagogue is only about a mile from my house. I was there six or eight weeks ago after another tragedy in another part of the nation. And they took their security very seriously. The community takes the security of all of our houses of faith very seriously.
I also understand from folks on the scene that this shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy.
CABRERA: Wow, incredible courage. You say they take their security seriously. Do you know what kind security they have in place?
VAUS: I can't talk about that specifically. But I can assure you that they take their security very seriously.
CABRERA: What do you want your community to know right now? VAUS: I want them to know that the scene is safe. The subject is in
custody. And this community like it always does will come together and support these folks. That is just the quality that is in our DNA. And we will be in prayer for those that have been injured, for the lost life. And we will come through it as the community that we've always been.
CABRERA: And pray that there are no lost lives. We have not been able to confirm that but we are of course working to get any more information that we possibly can.
Mayor Vaus, have you been in touch with law enforcement at this point or are they still in just sort of an all-out responding mode?
VAUS: I am at the command center as we speak.
CABRERA: OK. You are at the command center. Obviously getting -- go ahead, please.
VAUS: Let me add that, you know, the Poway sheriff's department is second to none. It is worth pointing out Poway is known for and proud of the fact that we have the lowest crime rate of any city in San Diego county. One of the lowest in the state. Our sheriff's deputies do a great job but we have been assisted greatly and less by San Diego PD and other agencies. I have been on the phone with the mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulkner. He has offered his full support. And we will just -- the teamwork here is incredible.
CABRERA: When you talk about the teamwork, can you tell us what the different law enforcement organizations are that are responding to this? Is it just local, is it state, is it federal?
VAUS: I'm looking across the parking lot here, I can tell you that San Diego sheriff's department is here. San Diego -- the city of San Diego police department is here. We have got ATF here. We have our firefighters here. It is all hands on deck.
CABRERA: You say one person is in custody, they believe that there is no ongoing threat to the community. Do you know anything about this person who has been detained?
VAUS: I don't know much about the person. I have heard that this was definitely someone with hate in their heart. Hate against the Jewish community and that just will not stand.
CABRERA: So is it your understanding that this shooting, this place of worship, was a target because it was a synagogue?
VAUS: Yes, ma'am.
CABRERA: OK. Mayor Vaus, thank you very much for joining us on the phone. We know you need to get back as well. Our hearts go out to your community and we will continue to be in touch with you.
A quick break. We are back with much more on the other side.
[16:27:45] CABRERA: Welcome back. We are continuing to follow breaking news right now out of San Diego County, California in the small town of Poway, a town of about 50,000 people. We just spoke to the mayor there who confirmed that there is no longer a threat to the community, but there was a man who today in and opened fire at this synagogue also being called a community center, the Chabad community center of Poway where there was an end of Passover celebration under way this morning when the gunfire rang out.
I want to bring in James Galliano. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst.
And James, I guess, the good news is here, there is no longer a threat to the community according to police. How do you think they determined that?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the fact that they have somebody in custody is a huge help because obviously they can talk to that person. In a situation like this, where somebody went into a synagogue six months to the day after the Pittsburgh Tree of Life shooting which was the largest attack on the Jewish community in our country's 243 years history. So that is not lost on anyone. So law enforcement is going to want to make sure that this is not a coordinated attack. And again, we have to be very careful. You and I spoke about this earlier, Ana. We got to make certain that police follow the evidence. It could have been anything from a domestic dispute, it could have been a workplace violence situation. So law enforcement has to follow the evidence.
But the number one issue here right now is making certain that there are no other accomplices, nobody providing material support and no other planned attacks going forward. Hopefully, law enforcement determine that. When they do that, we expect they probably give a press conference to let the public know.
CABRERA: Again, we don't have too much information here, James. But according to our affiliate reporter who has spoken with neighbors and other witnesses to the scene who heard the gunshots. One person, she reported telling her they heard six to seven gunshots followed by some silence and then another six to seven gunshots. What does that tell you?
GAGLIANO: Yes. It is really hard to tell. What I have heard so far is it sounded like it was semiautomatic weapon fire, probably from a pistol. Something that somebody put it secreted inside of a waste van pretty easily. I'm not certain, Ana, what the security situation is at the church.
I just listened to the mayor talking. Apparently they had something in place. But it doesn't guarantee anything. (INAUDIBLE) in this instance.
So look, in the last 17 years, we have had 250 mass shootings. And the FBI looks at mass shootings as three or more fatalities. So that's 800 people dead and 2200 casualties in the span of 17 years. And so again, we hope that the casualty count doesn't climb any higher and we hope the police get to the bottom of this and we hope there was nobody else involved.
CABRERA: When police say this investigation will take several hours, again, they have somebody in custody, they don't believe that there's an ongoing threat, so what are they doing now? What will take several hours in terms of this investigation?
GAGLIANO: First of all, there's a different standard if terrorism is applied. Which means, anytime that you take a subject into custody, custody plus interrogation means somebody has to have their Miranda rights read to them. So you have to offer them an attorney. If you offer them an attorney and the person says, yes, I'd like an attorney, I won't speak anymore, the concern is, hey, we have to get any actionable intel. So you want to develop a relationship with this person. You want to get this person to talk to you before they get an attorney. And you want to make sure that there's no more immediate threat. That is the number-one thing.
Then from there, then it just goes to the putting together the pieces of the investigation, obviously, to prosecute a person and hold them accountable for their crime. That is always secondary to making certain this was not a broader conspiracy. We know online people go into some of chat rooms and they find people of their same ilk with their perverted ideologies. Could that have been the case here? Police will be going through every piece of digital, anything this person ever admitted. So they will look up cell phone records, looking at what they said on line, anything on a social media platform. Their vehicle, a vehicle can tell them a lot. Who is the vehicle registered to? Is there anything in the vehicle, any paper, manifestos, screens, anything like that that can shed some type of light on this so law enforcement will figure out what the motivation was.
People ask, why is motivation so important. It helps us get out in front of the next one. It tips us off and gives us different signs and signals that could cause somebody to do something like this.
And again, Ana, way early in the investigation. Police have not acknowledged one way or the other whether or not this was a hate crime or whether it could have been something -- I don't want to say as benign as a domestic dispute because someone lost their life here and there were other casualties. But we have to get to the bottom of this. And the public needs to know as soon as possible so if there's anybody else we need to be looking for or if there's anybody else that might have been involved in a conspiracy that they can keep eyes and ears open for them.
CABRERA: James, the local hospital now is confirming that they received four patients. The condition of those patients unknown. Again, we have not confirmed any fatalities. But we have confirmed at least some serious injuries.
James, at what point does the FBI get involved? Would it have to rise to the level of being potential terrorism or a hate crime?
GAGLIANO: Two ways the FBI can get involved, Ana. The first way is if local authorities ask for help. And obviously, if they are going to treat this as a shooting right off the bat. Unless there's a terrorism nexus -- and obviously, hate crimes are things that take further investigation to develop. But there was a Presidential Decision Directive that President Clinton signed back in the mid '90s, and presidential decision Directive 62. If there's even a thought to be a hint of terrorism involved, the FBI automatically assumes the primacy of the case investigation. Now, I'm pretty certain that the FBI in the area -- there's an office in San Diego. I'm certain that there will be folks already on their way or at the Tactical Operations Center right now to talk to folks and help them develop leads and chase them down and offer the full force and efforts and capabilities of the FBI to help them get to the bottom of this and solve this.
CABRERA: OK. James Gagliano, thank you very much for being with us.
[16:34:04] Another quick break. We'll continue to follow the shooting at a synagogue in San Diego County, in Poway, California.
Stay with CNN for the very latest.
CABRERA: Back with the breaking news. A shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. Several people transported to the hospital. One person in custody.
And our affiliate, KUSI, just did an interview with a member of the synagogue. Let's listen.
MINOO ANVARI, CHABAD OF POWAY SYNAGOGUE MEMBER: My husband called and said there had been a shooting and, unfortunately, one of my friends was down and my rabbi and two other people. And one guy came shooting everybody, cursing. And they, of course, took them to hospital and we are praying for them. But just one message from all of us from our congregation that we are standing together. We are getting stronger. Never again, you can't break us. We are strong. You can't break us. We are all together.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Was there's a service going on or an event?
ANVARI: Shabbat, last day of Passover, and very important ceremony for us.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And the description, you said it was a guy?
ANVARI: It was a guy, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And he was screaming and cursing? Any description of what he looks like? ANVARI: Yes. He has been arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And who is your friend that --
ANVARI: I can't tell you, say her name, but it is one of my friends.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Where was your husband?
ANVARI: My husband was shocked, shocked like everybody else. Which this community, it is unbelievable. We are talking about Poway, very peaceful place. Everybody knows everybody. It is like a --
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Rabbi Goldstein does everything for everybody.
ANVARI: Rabbi Goldstein is such a nice man. Everybody knows. So friendly. He goes everywhere. Why? But the question is why. People are praying. If you have gut, go and fight the people you have to fight. Don't kill innocent people.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And your husband was inside you said during that?
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: That is how you found out?
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: He is OK but just shocked?
ANVARI: He is shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And what else did you hear from him? What else did he have to say?
[16:40:03] ANVARI: He just is shocked, he can't talk. I'm hoping that they release him earlier.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And you are parishioners of the -- what is the name of the synagogue again?
ANVARI: Chabad of Poway.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Chabad of Poway?
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And what would you call yourself, parishioners, members?
ANVARI: We're a member.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Members. OK.
And what is your first and last name? ANVARI: Minoo Anvari.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Spell it please.
ANVARI: M-I-N-O-O A-N-V-A-R-I.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And anything else you want to share?
ANVARI: Just we are strong. We are united. They can't break us. We are in America.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: And your family came from Iran?
What is your name, sir?
STEVE ARENOLD, CHABAD OF POWAY SYNAGOGUE MEMBER: My name is Steve Arenol. Her family came from Iran.
ANVARI: Yes, they were refugees.
ARNOLD: They are refugees from Iran. I never met a stronger family in my life, than the Anvaris. It is just -- it makes us stronger and stronger. It will not break us. Nothing like this will break us.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Are you a member?
ARNOLD: Yes, I've been --
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: What is the denomination exactly?
ARNOLD: It is -- Chabad is Jewish. They give an example as I'm reformed. I'm welcomed. And I come to this temple before it was built.
ARNOLD: And they open their arms to gentiles here, non-Jewish people to services. The rabbi introduces them and he has brought them up to sit up front.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Was the rabbi one of the ones that was shot or do you know that?
ARNOLD: Yes. Rabbi was one of them. And he continued afterwards, I was told that to tell everybody that they were strong and --
ANVARI Rabbi said we are united. This is something that is happening all over and we have to believe that this bad thing is real. And we don't have to ignore it. We have to open our eyes. And we prayed for peace. And I respect him. Even he refused to go to hospital. And he spoke. And he finished his speech. And then (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: What's your first and last name?
ARNOLD: The first name is Steve. My last name is Arnold.
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Can you spell it for me?
UNIDENTIFIED KUSI REPORTER: Thank you very much. Good luck.
CABRERA: OK. Again, that was from our affiliate, KUSI, interviewing a woman whose husband was inside the community center when the shooting took place. She talked about the rabbi being among the victims, having been shot. We heard that from our affiliate reporter, another affiliate earlier who also reiterated that very similar story, having told us that he was shot in the hand. But they both said that he continued to try to, in his role as the rabbi, be a leader of this community, trying to calm everybody in the congregation down as well as the shooter.
Police tell us that they have one person in custody. They do not believe that there's an ongoing threat to the community of Poway, California.
We are expecting a briefing from the sheriff's office in a short time from now.
We're staying on top of this story. Much more after a quick break.
[16:47:14] CABRERA: We're continuing our breaking news coverage of a shooting at a synagogue outside of San Diego, California, taking place at the Chabad of Poway. You're looking at pictures from our affiliate, KGTV, of the scene where you can see the law enforcement have the area cordoned off. They tell us there's not an ongoing threat to the community. They are continuing their investigation. They have one man currently in custody.
Our CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, is joining us. She's also former assistant secretary to the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, what is next for law enforcement? As we understand it, they have somebody in custody.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATINAL SECURITY & LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, somebody is also still alive. So they can speak presumably. They will have an attorney to talk about two primary needs right now. One is, is anyone else involved. Always a concern. And the second would eventually come to motivation. I know that sounds probably ridiculous to people who are listening, like the motivation seems absolutely clear to those who -- you know, looking at someone who enters a synagogue and goes after presumably from reporting -- the reporting and congregants. But obviously, we want to determine what was his motivation doing this because that will go to the criminal filing against him. And so that is sort of the obvious next step.
The second is not only for this synagogue, but for all synagogues, to assure that there's safety and security. So every mayor coming out making sure that there's increased security or support for synagogues. Tomorrow -- my kids are Jewish. I know tomorrow is Hebrew school. There will be lots of children at synagogues tomorrow. So people will want assurances that synagogues are safe and there's not additional possible violence going on.
And if I can raise one more thing, just two days ago, this sort of religious intolerance, which I will assume right now, although, of course, we want to get the motivation. But let's not forget that just two days ago, a man also in California, not too far from this, a man mowed down a family that he believed was Muslim or a group of people he believed were Muslim. Were actually Sikh. So we're seeing this heightened, I think, minority religious intolerance throughout the country, which, of course, we saw in Pittsburgh not too long ago.
CABRERA: Yes, the Pittsburgh shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue was exactly to the date, six months ago.
And, Juliette, of course, the other piece here, it is the last day of Passover. We understand there was a special celebration happening at the synagogue because of it being the last day of Passover at the time this man opened fire.
[16:50:04] CABRERA: Apparently, according to the witnesses there, he shot the rabbi as well as at least one other person. The hospital in that area telling us that they were anticipating at least four people who may be transported to the hospital. No word just yet on the extent of those injuries.
When you talk about security at places of worship, the mayor who we spoke to says this synagogue had security. What kind of security would you expect?
KAYYEM: Yes, so this is the hardest challenge because places of worship also want to be welcoming. So you are constantly in tension between, how welcoming can you be while still protecting people entering. Synagogues throughout the country had gone through this, mosques as well, after any incident. So the security in this case may have been anything from a door locking or sort of a door identification to video cameras or to having individual -- to having private police officers or, in fact, police officers. Because it was -- because it is in the Passover time period, at the end of Passover, many synagogues choose to have increased security for the high holidays simply because there are so many more people and also so many more strangers during that time. They want to be welcoming to people who maybe for the first time come to that synagogue because it is the high holidays or experiencing Judaism for the first time because of the high holidays. I know that at our synagogue. And so to the extent that there's just that challenge. So we'll hear what kind of security there is.
And just once again, I know we're careful about seeming too obvious or not looking reality in the eye. It is that anniversary, it's the end of Passover, it is a synagogue. Your motivation is going to one thing, which is this is a hate crime, a form of terrorism. And the assailant will have to prove otherwise, right? And that is what the questioning is about.
CABRERA: OK. Juliette Kayyem, thank you. We appreciate your insight.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
CABRERA: We're staying on top of this story. The sheriff's office expected to brief the media in a short time from now about yet another shooting at a house of worship. You'll hear from an eyewitness, next.
[16:56:10] CABRERA: Welcome back. We're continuing to cover a shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego, California, at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue.
I want you to listen to Christopher Folts, who was nearby when the shooting happened.
CHRISTOPHER FOLTS:, WITNESS: Yes, I was up front of the house getting ready to do some yard work. And I hear about six or seven gunshots. And I heard -- there was a pause and then a male voice yelling. And then another six or seven shots and it went quiet. I ran inside the house and grabbed the house phone and called 911.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you hear the male voice yelling what?
FOLTS:: I couldn't hear what they were yelling. But it was loud. And it was an emotional male voice. And that is all I heard.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER When you said that you heard like six shots? I mean was it really fast?
FOLTS:: Yes, like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And then yelling and another bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. I'd say at least a dozen shots overall.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And after you called 911, what did you do? Did you come out here and --
FOLTS:: I waited to see what was happening. And it took probably a good -- I'd say about probably four or five minutes and then the police came en masse. And then a helicopter was circling shortly thereafter. And it almost touched down here right on Summerfield Lane. Which I've never seen that before.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you see people running out, anyone injured or anything like that?
FOLTS:: No, I didn't see any movement at all. No cars. No people running. Nothing like that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How are you feeling? I'm sure you're not used to seeing this.
FOLTS:: This is crazy. Yes, it is a close-knit, quiet neighborhood community and you never expect anything like this to happen here.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know any members of the church there?
FOLTS:: My daughter went to preschool there. So we're familiar with the rabbi, who lives right down the street. But I don't know any active members right now, no.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you heard anything about what happened?
FOLTS:: Only thing I heard was that the rabbi was shot and a female was taken to the hospital. And there were other people with various injuries. But that is all I heard.
CABRERA: Again, that was a man who was working nearby when he heard the shots ring out.
I want to bring in the mayor of Poway, California, Steve Vaus, who we spoke to earlier, joining us again.
Mayor Vaus, thank you very much for being here.
We want to get the information out that you think is most important. What more can you tell us? What have you learned?
STEVE VAUS, MAYOR OF POWAY, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): The most important thing is that the suspect is in custody. The scene is secure. And we have had outstanding cooperation from all the law enforcement agencies within miles from here. And we'll do a press briefing here in a few minutes. But we had one fatality and it was a hate crime.
CABRERA: Oh, my gosh, one fatality. Do you know who that victim is?
VAUS: No, ma'am.
CABRERA: And you said it was a hate crime.
VAUS: Yes, ma'am.
CABRERA: Ands that according to who?
VAUS: It's a hate crime. CABRERA: And I'm sorry, who -- is that that according to local law enforcement --
CABRERA: -- or is that just your perception of it?
VAUS: It is a fact. And that is all I can give you at this point.
CABRERA: So you believe investigators are investigating this as a hate crime now. What leads you to believe that it is a hate crime?
VAUS: Because of statements that were made when the shooter entered.
CABRERA: So the shooter did say something. Can you tell us what he said?
VAUS: No, ma'am.
And I have to go to a press briefing now. I'm sorry.
CABRERA: OK. We'll be taking that press briefing as well for our viewers.
Mayor Vaus, thank you very much for joining us.
VAUS: You bet.
CABRERA: We'll continue to stay in touch with you.
Again, Mayor Vaus of Poway, California, confirming for us at least one person is confirmed killed. He believes investigators are now looking into this shooting as a hate crime.
We'll be right back.