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News Brief: Synagogue Shooting, Joe Biden, Boeing Shareholders Meeting


A day after his house of worship was attacked, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein appeared outside the Chabad of Poway synagogue yesterday.


YISROEL GOLDSTEIN: In every generation, they rise up against us. But God will protect us.


The shooting Saturday happened during a Passover celebration. One woman was killed. Three others were injured, including the rabbi. His hand was wrapped in bandages as he spoke with journalists. The gunman had fired shots that hit the rabbi's hands. And after surgery, he lost one of his index fingers. The woman killed in the attack has been named as Lori Gilbert Kaye. Rabbi Goldstein recounted what happened.


GOLDSTEIN: And I walk into the lobby. And I see Lori laying on the floor, unconscious. And her dear husband, Dr. Howard Kaye - who's like a brother to me - is trying to resuscitate her. And he faints. And he's laying there on the floor next to his wife. And then the daughter Hannah comes out screaming, Daddy and Mommy, what's - this is the most heart-wrenching sight I could have seen.

GREENE: One of the people standing outside the synagogue listening to Rabbi Goldstein was Steve Walsh, who reports for member station KPBS in San Diego. And he joins us this morning. Hi, Steve.


GREENE: Just tell me about taking all of that in from the rabbi. What are you - what more are you learning about what took place on Saturday?

WALSH: So on Sunday, we started hearing from more of the congregants from this very tightknit community. I mean, this is such a tightknit community that many people live nearby - within walking distance - of the synagogue. And we heard from Rabbi Goldstein, who was incredibly emotional, as you can imagine. And he's now missing an index finger. And he says he'll be forever scarred physically. But he said that it will remind him of how vulnerable we can be but also how heroic everyone can be.

I ended up talking to an Oscar Stewart, who is a Navy and an Army veteran who was in the synagogue with his family. And he charged at the gunman, who he said then turned and ran. Eventually, another member of the congregation, who is a Border Patrol agent in the El Centro District just east of here, ran out of the temple and began firing at the suspect. So there was a lot of resolve when I talked to congregants saying that, you know, we're not helpless - that we will fight if something like this happens.

GREENE: And maybe it could've been so much worse had they not done some of those things. Can you tell us anything we know at this point, Steve, about this shooter and his motives?

WALSH: Well, police have said, really, very little at this point. They didn't even hold a press conference today. But we know it's a John Earnest, who's 19 years old. He's believed to be a nursing student in San Diego with no prior contact with law enforcement. He has - there's a manifesto he has online that's attributed to him. It's a long, hate-filled diatribe against Jews and Muslims and, frankly, anyone who doesn't hate Jews and Muslims or people who are nonwhite. Many of the notions in there seem very similar to what we've heard during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

He also happened to take credit, in that statement, for a fire at a mosque in a nearby town, which burned the outside of it - that has been an unsolved crime. He's not been charged with that, but police have charged him with murder in the first degree for the death of Lori Kaye - 60-year-old - and three counts of attempted murder. Right now the sheriff's police are saying that they believe he's acted alone. He was not part of an organized group. Police worked throughout the night, interviewing over 100 people, to get a sense of the full scope of what happened at the synagogue.

GREENE: All right. Steve Walsh from member station KPBS reporting on that synagogue shooting. He's in San Diego. Steve, thank you very much.

WALSH: Thanks, David.


GREENE: All right. So more than three decades ago - June of 1987, to be exact - then-Senator Joe Biden stood outside Wilmington train station in Delaware and announced his first presidential run.


JOE BIDEN: We have been lulled by the anthem of self-interest. And for a decade, led by Ronald Reagan, self-aggrandizement has become the full-throated cry of this society. I've got mine, so why don't you go get yours?

MARTIN: Fast-forward 32 years, and that idea of a divided society appears to be the focus of Biden's third run for the Oval Office. He heads to Pittsburgh today for his first campaign rally.

GREENE: And we're going to talk about that with NPR political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, who's here. Hi, Danielle.


GREENE: All right. So Pittsburgh is my hometown. I know they had an amazing draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers got some very good players from this draft. But there are other reasons to go to the city - for political reasons, I guess, if you're Joe Biden. So what are they?

KURTZLEBEN: Right. You know - yeah. Pittsburgh is not Des Moines. It is not Manchester, N.H. But, you know, candidates really are sending particular messages with where they kick off. And one is that, you know, Pennsylvania is Joe Biden's home state. He talked about this a little bit on ABC's "The View" on Friday. Let's give that a quick listen.


BIDEN: I'm from Scranton. And Philadelphia is - you know, is a suburb of Wilmington. No. I'm joking. But, you know...


BIDEN: ...I know it's not.

KURTZLEBEN: I guess he didn't want to upset the good people of Philadelphia there. But, yeah, he's kicking off this swing - this opening-couple-of-weeks swing where he's going to start in Pittsburgh. He's going to finish up in Philadelphia. And a big thing he's going to talk about in Pittsburgh is the middle class, is about workers. He's giving that speech at a union - a Teamsters hall. So that really sort of hammers home what he's getting at - is growth for everybody. He says he wants to stress that - he wants inclusive economic growth for all people, regardless of race and gender. So you can bet that's what we're going to hear.

GREENE: Yeah. And, you know, talk to Democratic Party officials in Pennsylvania when Trump won there, and, I mean, they were just stunned and determined to not let it happen the next time. Can I just ask you - I mean, Biden has been criticized for some different things recently...


GREENE: ...One of them - his handling of Anita Hill's sexual misconduct allegations against Clarence Thomas, when he led those hearings. How has he been addressing that since his campaign launched just a few days ago?

KURTZLEBEN: Well, most notably, he went on ABC's "The View" on Friday, and he talked about this. He got some really pointed questions about this. And he said he has always believed her story. And the key line from this interview - he says, I don't think I treated her badly. If you listen to this interview, he's very much in the passive voice. He says she was treated badly. Mistakes were made - that sort of thing - but not that I made those. Now, of course, there's plenty of Democrats, plenty of people who disagree with that, who think he could have done more to defend her at the time, who think he could have called more witnesses to corroborate her story.

GREENE: And how were other candidates in the race reacting to him jumping in?

KURTZLEBEN: Well, they certainly understand that he is a political behemoth and that he has entered and that they have to really sort of take up arms. There have been some fundraising emails sent by candidates like Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren saying, you know, hey, donors. Big guy has entered the race. Let's really start raising money now. We got to fight.

GREENE: So the impact is there.


GREENE: NPR political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben. Thanks, Danielle.

KURTZLEBEN: Thanks, David.


GREENE: So in the face of really sharp scrutiny, the CEO of Boeing - I think we could say - has kept a pretty low profile.

MARTIN: Right. That is going to change today, most likely. Dennis Muilenburg is going to face shareholders for the first time since two fatal crashes led to the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet. Nearly 350 people were killed in those crashes - Lion Air crash and then Ethiopian Airlines crash. Faulty software caused pilots in those crashes to lose control of the planes. When we last heard from the CEO earlier this month, he said the company was making, quote, "steady progress in finding a fix."


DENNIS MUILENBURG: We're comprehensively testing the software to make sure that it does the job. And they're taking the time to get it right.

MARTIN: So how much time does Boeing need to find a solution as the pressure keeps mounting from shareholders and global regulators?

GREENE: Well, NPR's Russell Lewis is in Chicago. He's going to be covering this meeting. Hi, Russell.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

GREENE: So summarize the questions - the biggest questions - that are facing Boeing right now.

LEWIS: Well, I think Boeing certainly needs to reassure both the flying public and pilots that the 737 MAX, ultimately, will be safe. I mean, that is, really, the big thing that is hanging out there. You know, normally, these kinds of shareholder meetings are fairly quiet, not a lot of controversy. But certainly, this one - there are going to be sharp questions asked by shareholders about what's been going on, why, you know, things are taking this turn that they have and what's being done, ultimately, to correct them and make them better so that these kinds of accidents don't happen again?

GREENE: So one audience is the shareholders. But you mention, I mean, the flying public - another important audience. And the CEO is going to hold a press conference, we're expecting. I mean, what are you anticipating there?

LEWIS: Well, this will be the first time that Dennis Muilenburg has answered questions directly from reporters in a press conference setting since all of this began. He's been releasing a lot of video statements that are prepared by, you know, by the company, you know, not answering these questions directly. And so, you know, there are going to be sort of some sharp questions asked about why the company made some of the decisions that it did. Pilots are asking a lot of questions.

You know, this particular plane has larger engines than any 737 before. And they needed to mount them forward up on the wing. And because of that, Boeing needed to create this software system to prevent an aerodynamic stall in certain settings. But then the airline didn't - or rather, Boeing didn't tell airlines about this until after the first accident - the Lion Air crash in Indonesia. And there are a lot of questions about that that are coming forward about, you know, why was that? You know, as we continue to dig into this story and dig into to what happened, we're finding more and more things that - there are questions about why Boeing did what it did.

GREENE: And meanwhile, the 737 MAX - I mean, still grounded. Any idea when they could be back up in the air if Boeing does address all this?

LEWIS: Well, this software fix has not yet been given to the FAA. And likely, it's going to be a few more months still before this airline is cleared to fly.

GREENE: NPR's Russell Lewis in Chicago, covering a big meeting between the CEO of Boeing and shareholders. Russell, thanks a lot.

LEWIS: You're welcome.


Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.

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