Twin Cities Jewish group looks to harden security around area synagogues

One woman was killed in the Chabad-Poway shooting and three others were injured, including the Rabbi Saturday.

The gunman is now in custody. Local authorities say the man is also being investigated in a mosque arson last month.

In Minnesota, people of all faiths say security is a main priority.

Local law enforcement increased patrols at Twin Cities’ synagogues this weekend as the local Jewish community reacted to Saturday’s attack.

The final day of Passover was marked by bloodshed at the synagogue north of San Diego, California. A 19-year-old gunman opened fire killing one and injuring three others.

The attack set shockwaves through the Jewish community in Minnesota.

“It’s absolutely repulsive,” said Steve Huneg, of the Jewish Community Relations Council. “Nevertheless, it’s a reflection of the times in which we live.

The shooting came exactly six months since 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest assault on Jews in U.S. History.

It was less than a week after a series of deadly attacks on Christian churches in Sri Lanka.

“It tells you the descent of our country and globally into a zone of depravity, when you’re attacking people going to their church, their temple, their mosque, where you would think you would be safe,” Huneg said.

He said the JCRC dealt with two separate bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers in the Twin Cities in 2017 and more recently, the organization decided to create a new position: Director of Community Security.

“It came a realization that with the number of institutions and the complexity of security issues, the growing danger of security issues, we needed a full-time director of security,” Huneg explained.

While the recent shooting prompted an increase in security Sunday, Huneg says Minnesotans can expect a permanent hardening of synagogues around the metro.

In a statement, the JCRC outlined its intention to work with the legislature to shore up further security at its area synagogues.

The JCRC is the lead advocate this session at the Minnesota State Legislature for state funding to supplement the federal nonprofit security grant program (HF 1850/SF 2034). We are hopeful that the legislature and the Governor will come together to approve these urgently needed funds in the final Public Safety budget to enable at-risk houses of worship and other religious nonprofits to better safeguard all who gather at these centers of prayer and community.

Local leaders also gave statements on social media to share their condolences about the incident Saturday.