Clergy from all faiths reassured congregations that their houses of worship were safe, a day after a deadly shooting attack at a California synagogue that wounded a rabbi who had attended college in New Jersey.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is from Brooklyn and studied at Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, according to his Facebook profile.

John T. Earnest, 19, surrendered to police after bursting into Chabad of Poway, north of San Diego, on Saturday and opening fire with about 100 people inside, killing 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye.

Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and 34-year-old Almog Peretz also were wounded, authorities said.

President Trump and the Mayor of Poway both called the shooting attack on the final day of Passover a hate crime, as police increased their presence at places of worship across New Jersey.

Marlboro police spokesman Capt. Fred Wrek said they have increased their patrols to all religious houses of worship within the township.

"We have also assisted many of them with security assessments to improve on already existing security measures that are in place now," Wrek said.

South Brunswick police said in a message on their Twitter account they were monitoring the situation and would "adjust our presence" around religious facilities as needed.

Rabbi Rob Scheinberg and USH President David Swirnoff of United Synagogue of Hoboken in a statement on its Facebook page assured congregants their partnerships with law enforcement have made their synagogue a safe place.

 

Several New Jersey politicians also condemned the shooting, with statements on social media.

"Yesterday’s shooting at Chabad of Poway is a horrible reminder that the scourge of antisemitism persists in our society, and must be confronted and countered," Congressman Andy Kim said on his Twitter account.

Gov. Phil Murphy called for a "national reckoning" about hate crimes and gun violence in the United States in a tweet.

"We cannot remain the only nation in the world where these events spark momentary outrage but then a collective shrug that nothing can be done. We must defeat hate in all forms. We must come to terms that we are awash in too-easily attained guns. We need a national reckoning," Murphy wrote.

Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, a former member of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and a current advisory board member of Jewish Family and Community Services said he was "appalled and saddened" by the attack.

"Once again, we have seen another deranged individual, storm a house of worship with an AR-15 in order to maximize causalities and sow the seeds of chaos and destruction."

Earnest, who had no previous contact with law enforcement, may be charged with a hate crime in addition to homicide, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said. Earnest is also being investigated in connection with an arson attack on a mosque in nearby Escondido, California, on March 24.

Erin Vogt and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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