Army Vet Who Chased Off Poway Shooter: ‘I’m Not a Hero or Anything’
“I’m not a hero or anything. I just reacted,” said Oscar Stewart, who confronted and pursued the gunman who opened fire on the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, this past weekend.
The assailant, John Earnest, killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a member of the congregation, and woundef three others, including the Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, before Stewart closed in on him.
“I thank God that he gave me the courage to do what I did,” The Los Angeles Times quoted Stewart as saying.
Stewart shouted, “I’m going to kill you,” at the gunman and ran towards him. A veteran of the Iraq War, Stewart’s army training apparently kicked in.
“I heard gunshots,” he told The Daily Caller. “And everybody got up and started trying to get out the back door, so I — for whatever reason — I didn’t do that. I ran the other way. I ran towards the gunshots.”
“I knew I had to be within five feet of this guy so his rifle couldn’t get to me,” he recounted. “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,” he added.
“He was in the act of shooting when I saw him,” Stewart said. “When I yelled at him he turned and looked at me, and he like froze. And then the look on his face was one of amazement at first, and then one of fear. He saw me coming, and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to stop him.”
The gunman then fled the scene with Stewart in pursuit. The shooter got into his car and appeared to reach for a weapon. Stewart slammed his fist into the side of the car, planning to drag the killer out. At that point, an off-duty Border Patrol agent at the scene told Stewart to get down and then fired at the vehicle, causing the shooter to flee.
“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun,” Stewart asserted.
Stewart also spoke about Kaye in glowing terms, saying, “She was a very loving woman.”
“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,” he stated.
“People in the aftermath here have been saying it’s important to be strong and defend ourselves,” he went on to say. “I also think it’s important to know that being strong and defending ourselves requires a lot of sacrifice too.”