On the morning of August 10, 1999, Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr, a 37-year-old avowed white supremicist walked into the North Valley Jewish Community Center and started shooting. The police estimate over 70 shots had been fired based on casings found. Three students, two 6-year-olds, Josh Stepakoff and James Zidell, and 5-year-old, Benjamin Kadish,were shot and injured, as was Mindy Finkelstein, a sixteen-year-old camp counselor, and 68-year-old receptionist Isabelle Shalometh. All survived their injuries.
Furrow’s rampage began three days earlier, when he purchased a used van in Washington state and loaded it with five rifles, two pistols, and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Furrow drove south looking for Jewish facilities to attack as a “wake up call to America to kill Jews.” After finding several locations with tightened security, Furrow drove to the North Valley Jewish Community Center where a day camp was in session with over 250 students playing outside. He then entered the lobby and shot with a semi-automatic weapon from side to side, spraying the building with bullets.
Furrow fled in his van before carjacking a woman twenty minutes later. He then came across 39-year-old USPS postal worker Joseph Santos Ileto, who he shot and killed. Furrow eventually turned himself in after fleeing in a taxi from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Furrow walked into an FBI office and confessed his crimes.
The shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center gave rise to the Million Mom March, which pushed for tighter gun legislation across the country and galvanized mothers and others from across the country. The March, held on Mother’s Day in May 2000, drew nearly one million people.