Family of girl injured in Poway synagogue shooting: We fled violence in Israel. We thought it was safe here

Joel Shannon

SAN DIEGO – Israel was not a place that Eden Dahan and her husband wanted to raise their children.

“It was fire every day. Every day, rockets. Every day, you need to run away,” she told USA TODAY Monday.

So, eight years ago, they moved to America. And, for the past three years, they've been at home in Poway, a quiet suburb of San Diego, where she said the family felt safe and comfortable.

The Dahan family attends Chabad of Poway, nestled in a community that seemed open and accepting. The congregation has been something of a second family.

But on Saturday, a gunman entered their beloved synagogue and opened fire. One woman was killed and three others were wounded. One of the injured was Dahan's daughter, Noya. Another was her brother.

Eden Dahan, who was not at the synagogue at the time of the shooting, is now coping with the tragedy. Her daughter, 8, is doing better, she says. Noya is dealing with some pain, but she can walk.

Eden's brother, Almog Peretz, however, sustained injuries that have proven to be more serious, Eden said.

Peretz, 34, lives in Israel. He was visiting Southern California as a tourist. 

The family is reeling from the act of violence — and the hate that motivated it. The suspect has been linked to a racist online posting that praised mass shooters, spoke of a plan to "kill Jews" and extensively cited scripture. 

In the past, when the Dahan family saw anti-Semitic acts of violence — such as a Pittsburgh synagogue massacre last October — they couldn't imagine such a tragedy  in their hometown.

“We never thought it would be us — never," Eden said.

Now the family is struggling to process the tragedy. 

Noya cried one night as she remembered what had happened.

Another of Eden's daughters locked herself in a bathroom during the shooting. The 5-year-old heard shots and curses and knew something was wrong.

“She saw the woman dead on the floor. And all the blood — she saw everything. It was so bad,” Eden said.

When someone came to rescue her, she asked, “Are you the bad guy or the good guy?” her mother said.

Contributing: Rebecca Plevin, Palm Springs Desert Sun

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Family of girl injured in Poway synagogue shooting: We fled violence in Israel. We thought it was safe here