Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein prepared his sermon during service Saturday morning, a series of ceremonies on the last day of Easter Sunday, his synagogue's party room, and heard the deaf bang.
Lori Gilbert Kaye, his friend of two decades and a pioneering congregant in Chabad of Poway, had only stopped the rebate to ask how early Yizkor would begin, a seasonal prayer for the purpose of celebrating and remembering those who were dead . She and her husband were there with their 22-year-old daughter. They wanted to honor Kayes mother.
"11:30" replied the rabbi.
So when he heard the bang, Goldstein thought Kaye might have fallen or maybe had a table overturned. When he turned to look, he now saw Kaye – but a man wearing sunglasses and holding an assault rifle.
"I couldn't see his eyes," the rabbi later recalled. "I couldn't see his soul."
Soon there were more slips moving in his direction, as Goldstein said he realized were shots on fire. Rabbi raised his hands to fight back and bullets hardly missed his fingers. Shrapnel injured two others, both Israeli citizens before the shooter's gun "miraculously determined," said the rabbi. The 19-year-old man, identified by the authorities as John Earnest, was hunted from the synagogue and fled in a car, witnesses said. He was eventually detained by the authorities.
Goldstein blew violently by both hands and killed a group of young children outside of what included his 4-year-old grandson. He came back to the party room, where he finally found Kaye.
She lay on the ground, unknowingly he said. Besides her, she laid her husband, a doctor who had tried to save her, but failed. The couple's daughter arose and screamed.
"It was the most heartbreaking sight I could have seen," said Goldstein. "I was frozen in time."
Finally, the rabbis and the Israeli nationals survived their injuries. Kaye didn't.
"In my own interpretation, Lori took the bullet for all of us. She died to protect all I of us," Goldstein said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. "This is Lori. This is her legacy, and her legacy will continue. It could have been so much worse." Just weeks before, Kaye and her husband had flown to New York to celebrate Goldstone's daughter. And she had also been there for rabbi decades ago when he wanted to build his house for worship and needed financial support. She helped him secure a loan.
For her honor and to fight anti-Semitism, the rebate called on everyone to join the synagogue next week. "We must fill these spaces, we must show them that terrorism and evil will never prevail," he said. "Let's fill the synagogue, let's stand high, let's dance together."
In a Facebook post, later published in the Jewish journal, Audrey Jacobs wrote that Kaye was "a jewel of our society, a true Eshet Chayil, a valor woman."
"You always ran a mitzvah (good deed) and generously gave tzedaka to everyone," Jacobs wrote.
The third shooter, Almog Peretz, visited from Israel. He attended the Chabad synagogue with his family, who eight years ago moved to San Diego from the city of Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip to escape the attack of rocket fire there.
Peretz, who still lives in Israel, told local TV channel Channel 12 that dodging rocket fire has become instinctive – and that these instincts helped him escape the bullets Saturday morning.
"A person with a large rifle like an M16 entered the synagogue and started shooting everywhere" Peretz told channel 12 from his hospital bed. "At first we thought the ceiling was broken, but then I turned around and saw that he was heading for his weapon."
There were children next to him, said Peretz, so he took his three nieces and another girl and hurried them to a building at the back of the campus. When he fired one of the girls, the gun shot at Peretz, he said, and hit him in the leg.
One of Peretz's nieces, 9-year-old Noya Dahan, was injured in the face and leg by shrapnel and received treatment in a hospital, her father told CNN.
"We're shocked, it's a little scary," said Israel Dahan. "We are everywhere."
The family moved to the United States nearly ten years ago to escape violence and worship in peace. Then a couple of years ago their home was sprayed with swastikas, Dahan told CNN. Now the shooting. 19659024] Dahan told CNN that his children asked him Saturday: "Why do we live here?"
At the press conference on Sunday afternoon, the rabbi stood in front of journalists with both hands wrapped in light blue castings. The forefinger on his right hand was missing, a permanent reminder he wants from the shooting, he said. He thanked the mayor of Poway and the sheriff's department, and he also thanked President Donald Trump for a 15-minute phone call, which he said made him feel supported.
Then the rabbi took the opportunity to hand over the sermon that a shot would be ended on Saturday morning.
"Isaiah's prophecy," he said, "that the world should see a better day."
Trump condemns anti-Semitism, hate crimes in rally after synagogue shooting  Suspicion identified in "hate crime" admission to the synagogue that left 1 death