The latest in San Diego synagogue shooting investigation

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and several brave congregants describe what happened when a gunman allegedly opened fire with an assault rifle on their synagogue during a Passover service.
8:28 | 04/30/19

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Transcript for The latest in San Diego synagogue shooting investigation
I turn around and I see the shooter standing there in position with a rifle, moving it towards me. Reporter: It was the moment rabbi yisroel Goldstein came face to face with evil. Reporter: It wasn't just a shooting, it was a massacre. I felt like I was in a movie or in a dream or something. Reporter: 8-year-old Noya Dehan saw her rabbi get shot. I wanted to dodge, to do something. And I -- the bullets started to fly. So I tried to cover myself. Tried to block the bullets? Tried to block the bell lets. Don't know what to do. That's where my finger got shot Two of his fingers are like off, they're off. And he's like gushing blood and stuff. I was centimeters away from death, literally. Reporter: Her father feet I flipped the table, start yelling like crazy. Reporter: In an estimated 30 seconds of terror, John earnest, a 19-year-old who had studied nursing, allegedly attacked the chabad of poway in the middle of sabbath services. Three people were wounded but would survive. 60-year-old Lori gilbert-kaye would not, shot just feet away from rabbi Goldstein. He hates Jews. This is pure anti-semitism. Reporter: Police calling this a hate crime, the latest in a rising number of attacks motivated by race or religion. And law enforcement today revealing it got a tip minutes before the attack but it was too late. Getting another caller who stated there's a shooting at the synagogue den disconnected. Reporter: A business after 11:00 A.M., police say the shooter entered the synagogue. They're saying it's a white male in front of the synagogue. Reporter: The gunman firing off about 10 rounds in total. Amoving Peretz trying to get the kids to safety. He shot me here. I didn't feel it a second. You got shot but didn't feel it? I take the girl, I take it girl one here, after I opened the door, I take all the kids and a small date, I opened the small gate, I tell them, all the kids, run. How many kids did you gather up and run with? All the kids. Like 20. Reporter: The ar-15 style rifle purchased just the day We're going to have two victims from gunshot wounds. Reporter: With the gunman firing, Oscar Stewart didn't think, he just ran. Take about two steps and I turn around and go the other I took off in a sprint as fast as I can go. I ran toward the lobby where the gunshots were coming from. The look on his face was one of dread as I'm coming at him. He drops his weapon. Reporter: It's possible the gunman's weapon then malfunctioned. I yelled, I'm going to kill you. I chased him out. I chased him to his vehicle. He gets in the car, raises the with all my force I hit the side of the car with all my might. Reporter: Stewart says at this point Jonathan morales, an off-duty border patrol agent and congregant, also joined in. He comes out, I hear mill say, fall back, I have a gun. He lets off five rounds at the car that's still parked. At this point he ran out of ammunition. The car starts to go. We both take the license plate number down. Reporter: The men ran back inside to survey the damage he'd the rabbi shot. Congregant Lori Kaye lying on We proceed to start doing cpr on her. At what point did Howard, Lori's husband, turn up? Howard's a physician. I jumped up and got the aed. He says, I'm not getting a pulse. He reaches over and looks at Lori, and that's when he realized it was his wife. The whole time he's working on her, he didn't realize -- He didn't know who she was. He passes out, he paints. Here I got Howard laying on the floor. I worry. Then Hannah comes running out. That is their daughter? The daughter, the only daughter. Watching both of her parents down. Reporter: Their loss fully realized. A mile and a couple of minutes later, police stop the shooter. We're code 4 here at the scene of the vehicle, we got an ar-15 -- Suspect pulled over, jumped out of the car with his hands up, was immediately taken into Reporter: For the other victims the scars still remain. He goes back here. It didn't go straight like that. It went like in like that. Is there one image that you can't get out of your head? When he's looking at me. You made eye contact. Looking at me. He went to shoot me like that. That's in my face. You can't forget? I try and forget, all the time trying. Reporter: The suspect is being charged with one count of murder aggravated by a hate crime and three counts of attempted murder. In a statement the shooter's family said that to our great shame he is now part of the history of evil that's been perpetrated on jewish people for centuries. Our son's actions were informed by people we do not know and ideas we do not hold. They say he comes from a family that rejected hate. He was a straight-a student who lived at home. 2017, we saw the largest single-year increase of anti-sell mettism incidents across the country. This was the first time ever we saw anti-semitic incidents in all 50 states. Investigators are still scouring the shooter's social media. It seems he was radicalized on the dark web. A man claiming to be the alleged shooter posted an open letter online on hn wishing death on all Jews, writing that he wanted to kill as many as he could. The radicalization and recruitment that individuals go through absolutely has an online component. The sharing of a manifesto, the discourse with other individuals who may believe in a similar ideology. And unfortunately the offline component, whether it's the acquisition of the weapon, the ammunition, and other components that played a part in this attack, are where this individual's warped ideology meet azriel-life act of The statistics show us we have a societal failure with a rampant number of mass attacks. Reporter: Michael masters directs a homeland security initiative that focuses on safety in jewish-american communities. Anything about this gunman's profile similar to other or previous attacks? I think we're still learning a lot about the individual. But from what we know, that he was able to purchase a firearm and move to an active attack so quickly, is a trend that we're increasingly seeing. Reporter: In the past year this have been an increasing number of attacks on places of worship. Just a week ago, bombs ripped through Christian churches in Sri Lanka, killing over 250 people. On Easter Sunday. And last month a gunman attacking several mosques in christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people. The shooter in poway claimed to be inspired by that attack and blaged about setting fire to a mosque near San Diego. And just six months ago at the tree of life synagogue in Pittsburgh, 11 people were killed. Both Jews and muslims continue to be the highest numbers of religious groups that are the target of hate and violence, and this is really a troubling trend. We find ourselves very much in the same situation of needing to stand with each other against those who would consider us to be outliers. In the past two years, the resources devoted to preventing and intervening in the process of radicalization have been decimated, and that's going in the wrong direction. Reporter: In poway, the FBI did receive a tip about the shooter just five minutes before he opened fire. But for Lori gilbert-kaye, it would be too late. It is so unfair to this young woman to have to lose her life when she came to synagogue to memorialize her mother. She's one of those people you call at 2:00 in the morning, she will be there. Reporter: Tonight a synagogue torn apart by hate, now united by grief. So I have this. There's little -- there's a piece of bullet. Reporter: For little Noya, her scars, a reminder of what she and far too many children like her have endured. Do you feel safe here, Noya? Well -- I don't really feel safe. Because it's not the first and definitely not the last time this is going to happen. So now I just know to watch out and stuff, for dangerous things to happen. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Matt Gutman in poway, California. We want to thank Matt for

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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