The man who fired a semi-automatic weapon inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Saturday froze, dropped his gun and sprinted to his car when he saw Oscar Stewart come barreling toward him, yelling so loud the priest at a neighboring church could hear.The DC goes on to describe Stewart's military service. He was EOD - Explosive Ordinance Disposal - in the Navy from 1990 to 1994, then enlisted in the Army after the 9/11 attacks. He was in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, leaving as a Master Sargeant. Today, he works in construction.
“Get down!” Stewart yelled, according to his wife and others who were at the scene. “You motherfucker! I’m going to kill you!”
Stewart, 51, told The Daily Caller on Sunday he doesn’t remember any conscious thought from the moment he heard the gun shots until it was all over — he just acted on instinct to stop the shooter and prevent him from leaving so he couldn’t hurt more people somewhere else. The Iraq combat veteran said his military training kicked in.
“I knew I had to be within five feet of this guy so his rifle couldn’t get to me,” Stewart said. “So I ran immediately toward him, and I yelled as loud as I could. And he was scared. I scared the hell out of him.”
“Looking back, it was kind of a crazy idea to do, but I did it.”
After Stewart rushed the shooter while screaming he was going to kill him the shooter decided he needed to run for his car. Stewart ran after him. When he got to the car he started pounding on it and kicking it, trying to do something to get in and drag the killer out. That's when the off-duty Border Patrol agent, who attends that synagogue, yelled at Stewart to get out of the way to give the agent clean shots at the car.
Stewart says this man may have saved his life and pointed to his use of a civilian’s gun as evidence that gun control isn’t the answer to these kinds of tragedies. Stewart was off-duty and was apparently handed the weapon by someone else on the scene.Although he helped cause the shooter to call off the attack, Stewart will be the first guy to tell you he's not a hero. The hero would be a woman he knew from the synagogue and had spent some time talking with. Eyewitnesses say she jumped in front of the rabbi, taking a bullet to protect him.
“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” he told the Caller.
After he sped off, Stewart ran back into the synagogue and found a woman he knew, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye, unresponsive on the floor in the lobby. He began CPR and continued trying to bring her back to life as a couple of doctors arrived and began to assist him. She didn’t make it. The two had talked occasionally, and he remembers her as a passionate and kind woman.If you don't read anything else today, read this story on the DC. I'll add a couple of more quotes.
“She had different political views, so we had interesting discussions when we talked,” he said. “We didn’t just talk about the weather. It was kind of cool. She was a very loving woman.”
“I don’t know if I consciously made the choice to potentially sacrifice myself,” he added. “But I did. And this lady, she stood and she jumped in front of the shooter and she saved the rabbi’s life. When somebody said I was a hero, I’m like, she was a hero. I just did it instinctively, like an animal. There was no conscious decision. I just did it.”
For his part, Stewart doesn’t attribute the shooter’s actions to a larger agenda and was reluctant to connect him to a larger political context. He doesn’t blame President Donald Trump and expressed hope that people don’t try to blame anyone else for the man’s actions. “He was an individual acting alone,” he said.
“If you’re ignorant and you don’t know what people are like, you don’t know that I’m a person just like you. I go to work every day in a manual labor job. I’m not some, you know – supposedly he said in his manifesto that the Jews control this and that — I don’t control anything. I go to work just like you every day. He didn’t know that.”
(Oscar Stewart - Getty Images)
Oscar Stewart is a gem. On day when he was suddenly thrown into the worst day of his life, he rose to the occasion on pure instinct. It's hard to imagine doing better than that. His appearance and shouting was enough to make this shooter drop his gun and run. Stewart doesn't believe news reports saying the gun jammed. The shooter may have suddenly noticed that he didn't have the time to reload he thought he did.
Funny thing, though. There was a report from other worshipers that the shouting was exceptionally loud. Too loud for one man. Remember "yelling so loud the priest at a neighboring church could hear"? To quote the article directly:
Others who were there later told him it sounded like four or five people were shouting. He thinks maybe an angel was standing behind him and speaking through his voice.I'm sure it was just odd acoustics. Yeah, that's the ticket. Odd acoustics. No such thing as an angel army, nothing to see. Move along. Move along.