connectVideoVeteran who intervened in the synagogue attack describes what happened when he was rushed shooter
Oscar Stewart gives his first national interview on the ‘Fox & Friends” on his heroic efforts during the California synagogue shooting.
The 51-year-old Iraq War veteran who fearlessly rushed to the California synagogue shooter, said Tuesday that he acted on instinct when he heard gunshots reverberate during services at Chabad of Poway on Saturday morning.
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Oscar Stewart said that he had the intention to stand on and just like the rest of the congregants, but something stopped him.
“I took maybe one, two steps and… I don’t know why, I turned around and walked in the direction of the gunfire,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
Stewart confronted the suspect, who authorities have identified as 19-year-old John T. Ernst, wearing a military-style jacket and wielding a semi-automatic rifle.
“While I ran up to him, I cried as hard as I could, every inch of my body cried this sound,” he said on Fox News. “He looked at me and had a look of, such as anxiety. He dropped his weapon to his side. He had a tactical sling, so it will not fall to the ground… he turned around and walked out of the building.”
Oscar Stewart, who chased the shooter in the synagogue, speaks with members of the media in front of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Sunday 28 April 2019 in Poway, California.
(SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
Stewart started behind him.
“I was trained that if a person has a gun and you are within a certain number of feet, they are not able to deploy the gun against you,” he said. “…I remained in the chase. As soon as he jumps in his car, he raises his rifle. I beat the car as hard as I could and he put (the gun) back down. He starts the car, and at this moment I hear in the background, ” I have a gun, clearly. To get back.’ I fall back and Jonathan Morales… a Border Patrol agent opens with five rounds in the car.”
He added: “(Morales) shot at a parked car and we were in an attempt to get the man to go.”
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Stewart said that after the suspect was subdued, he ran back into the synagogue to help others. That is where he saw Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was bleeding from his hand and congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye lying on the ground. Stewart said that he got some help and flipped Gilbert-Kaye, before a doctor, who has been in the area started cpr while he blew in her mouth.
Oscar Stewart, left, walks past a picture of Lori Kaye, Monday, April 29, 2019, if he comes to a memorial service for Kaye in Poway, Calif. Stewart was worshipping at the Chabad of Poway synagogue Saturday when a gunman opened fire, killing Kaye. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
“At a certain point that he (the doctor) tired,” he said. “I started doing both the compression and the breath.”
Unfortunately, the Gilbert-Kaye, 60, died in the injuries she sustained during the shooting. They are said to have thrown himself in front of the rabbi, possibly saving his life.
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Stewart told Fox News that he will feel emotionally fine, but that his wife, who was widow of her first husband, is having trouble coming to terms with the incident.
“My wife is actually more emphasis on than I am,” he said.