Arrest Made in Shooting at San Francisco Synagogue

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
February 4, 2023Updated: February 4, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO—Police have arrested a man suspected of firing a gun loaded with blanks inside a San Francisco synagogue.

The man was arrested Friday evening in the Richmond District and booked on suspicion of disturbing a religious assembly, brandishing an imitation firearm and causing another to refrain from engaging in a religious service, police said in a statement.

His name wasn’t immediately released.

He is suspected of walking into the Schneerson Center on Balboa Street, which holds religious services and classes along with community activities, shortly before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Surveillance video showed a man wearing a baseball cap, jacket and sneakers entering a room with more than a dozen people at a table. The man made hand gestures before taking out a gun and firing, waved and left.

Mattie Pil, the president of synagogue, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her husband, Rabbi Bentzion Pil, was sitting at a table with about 25 senior citizens who were at a study session when a man entered.

Asked where he was from, the man said he was from Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. He then pulled out the gun, Mattie Pil said.

“We were shocked,” her husband said. “No one was expecting it. I was about to go to the kitchen to get a knife … but the whole thing took like 20 seconds.”

No injuries or damage were reported and investigators believe the man used blanks.

A day before that shooting, the same man is believed to have entered a theater several blocks away on Balboa Street, brandished a gun and fled, police said.

No shots were fired.