Synagogue shooting sparks security questions for places of worship

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CARLSBAD, Calif. — Religious leaders, elected officials, advocacy groups and community members gathered to rally against hate in response to the deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway.

Dr. Priya Bhat-Patel, organized the “Community Call to Action” at  Alga Norte Community Park.

“I think when you have a community of people directly affected like this, it’s important to show support in numbers, if nothing else,” one community member told FOX 5.

Speakers at the event included members of the North County NAACP, the North County LGBTQ Center, and various religious leaders.

Many offered practical ways to root out hate, like teaching kindness at a young age.

“People should know that they have value, that they have worth, and they’re important to the divine design, and so is their neighbor. That’s what you can teach the children,” said Rabbi  Yuruchem Eilfort from Chabad of La Costa.

“We must speak up when we see behavior that belittles and dehumanizes our neighbor,” said David Trujillo, advocacy director for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Also present were members of the Muslim community of Escondido. The same person accused of opening fire at the Chabad of Poway, is also accused of setting fire to a mosque in Escondido in March.

Yusef Miller with the Islamic Society of North County said they have ramped up security measures at the mosque, adding night vision cameras and other security measures.

“We’re working with federal and state institutions on forums, educating mosques and all faith traditions on how to have better security,” Miller said.

Several law enforcement agencies said they will continue to have added patrols at places of worship around the county, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego, Chula Vista and El Cajon Police Departments.

The Sheriff’s Department also provides free security checks and active shooter preparedness trainings to anyone within their jurisdiction.

“We need to take this momentum of unity and brotherhood, sisterhood and capitalize on it,” Miller said.  “We have a strong opportunity to become one people again and we need to take it.”

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