Synagogue shooting victim’s cousin — who grew up in Fairfield — speaks out
FAIRFIELD — The cousin of a victim shot dead in a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., on Saturday turned to the Hartford Courant to speak out about the incident in a recent op-ed.
In the piece published on the Courant’s site on Monday, Hartford attorney Jon Schoenhorn said he gained Lori Kaye as a member of his family when she married his cousin Howard — who Schoenhorn grew up with in Fairfield — more than 30 years ago. Schoenhorn said Kaye was his “favorite cousin.”
Kaye was gunned down at the Chabad of Poway synagogue by a 19-year-old, armed with an assault rifle, during the last day of Passover. The rabbi and two other worshippers were injured. The anti-Semitic attack came six months after 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.
“Whether due to bravery or her belief she could reason with such a coward, Lori stepped in front of the assailant and likely saved other lives by sacrificing her own,” Schoenhorn wrote in the opinion piece.
He wrote about memories the two shared — including his trip out to visit California, and her visit to Connecticut last fall, where they caught up over breakfast in West Hartford center.
“She was a vibrant, intelligent, caring and outgoing person. And now she’s gone,” Schoenhorn wrote. “It is hard to convey to someone who hasn’t experienced this type of senseless loss what it feels like. I haven’t fully processed it myself. But I can tell you this: I am angry.”
Schoenhorn’s piece goes on to address the anger he feels about what he calls growing racism and bigotry in the U.S., easy access to assault rifles and politicians — including the president — not taking action.
His story wraps up by saying he doesn’t want “thoughts and prayers” — he calls them “empty gestures.” He said he hopes to see the country “curb violence spawned by bigotry, racism, gender bias and homophobia in this country.”
He leaves readers with a final parting question: “Must your family be victimized by such violence before you get angry, too?”