American Muslim gunman shoots 5, kills 1 at Jewish Federation.
Cheryl Stumbo, 43, a board member of University Unitarian Church in Seattle, Washington, was one of five women injured when an American Muslim man entered the offices of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Seattle on Friday July 28 and began shooting. A sixth woman was killed.
The shooter, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, forced his way into the building by holding a gun to the back of a 14-year-old girl who was entering the building. During the shootings, the girl hid in the bathroom. One of Haq’s victims, who had been shot in the arm, managed to call 911 after crawling to a phone. According to the Seattle Times, Haq talked to 911 saying “This is a hostage situation, and I want these Jews to get out.” He later added “These are Jews, and I’m tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around in the Middle East.” Seattle police have classified it as a hate crime.
As of this writing, Stumbo, who is director of marketing and communications for the Federation, is in stable condition and might even leave the hospital this weekend, according to the Rev. Jon Luopa, minister of University Unitarian Church. “Her spirit is amazingly resilient,” Luopa said. “Of course all of her energy is focused on physical recovery now. I’m sure the psychic wounds will appear later.”
Stumbo, a lifelong UU, joined University Unitarian Church in February 2004 at the urging of some friends. Described as creative and vivacious, she was quickly tapped for a position on the board, according to Luopa.
Haq, whose family lives in Pasco, Washington, about 180 miles from Seattle, found the Federation through an Internet search for Jewish organizations in the area, according to the New York Times. It is believed he acted alone. He has a history of mental illness and was charged with lewd conduct in March.
The Islamic community was quick to express its condolences and offer support after the shooting, Luopa said. The funeral for Pamela Waechter, who was killed in the shooting, was held Monday drawing Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
Ali Salaam Mahmoud, an imam from Iowa who attended the funeral, was quoted in the Seattle Times as saying, “Humanity collectively has lost their moral consciousness. They’ve forgotten the value of that one life.”
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.