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'I never thought I'd hear gunfire again' — Iraq War veteran recounts moment he rushed synagogue shooter
Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old Iraq War veteran, was standing at the back of the room when shots rang out during a Torah reading service at the Chabad of Poway on Saturday. His actions, described by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore as an "act of courage," resulted in the shooter fleeing the scene before more damage was done.
At about 11:20 a.m., a 19-year-old man armed with an AR-15-style rifle entered the synagogue where worshipers had gathered for the end of Passover. He started shooting.
Before it was over, four people had been injured — one fatally — in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime.
According to Stewart, when the shooting began, most of the congregation got up and started to run to safety. But, for reasons he could not explain, Stewart ran the other way — toward the gunfire.
"I don't know why I did it," Stewart said Sunday. "I really wasn't thinking. I knew I had to do something. That situation, you're not really thinking — you're just reacting."
Stewart said he ran into the foyer of the building and came face-to-face with the gunman. He recalled thinking the man with the gun looked "young" and "innocent."
"I knew I had to close the distance between myself and him," Stewart said. "In my subconscious, I knew what I had to do."
When he was about five steps away from the shooter, Stewart screamed as loud as he could. He said that seemed to startle the gunman, who had been looking down at his rifle.
The young man looked up, let go of his weapon, turned and ran through the exit, Stewart said, the weapon dangling from the shooter's sling as he fled.
"He turned and I chased him out of the synagogue," Stewart said.
The gunman made it to his car, with Stewart right behind him. Stewart said he was punching the outside of the vehicle when he heard another voice, a Border Patrol agent who was at the synagogue, tell Stewart to move out of the way.
"He said, 'Clear back, I have a gun,'" Stewart said. "He fired five rounds or so into the car."
The suspect drove off and was apprehended a short time later.
Stewart said he couldn't explain why he did what he did, but said his military experience guided his actions. He once worked as a bomb disposal tech in the Navy, he said. He got out, then joined the Army after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I served in Iraq," he said. "I never thought I'd hear gunfire again."
Steward said he was in Iraq from March 2003 to April 2004.
Gore commented on Stewart's actions in a statement Sunday.
"Mr. Stewart risked his life to stop the shooter and saved lives in the process," the sheriff said.
Stewart said he didn't sleep well Saturday night because he can't stop thinking about the situation.
"I hope people understand that if we understand each other, things like this won't happen," Stewart said. "We gotta work on that, I think."
©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune
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The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.