A Jewish man who was shot dead Friday at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem had had previous altercations with the security guard who killed him, according to reports Sunday.
Multiple witness told Maariv that the guard, a 25-year-old Druze man from northern Israel, and the victim, 46-year-old Doron Ben Shlush, had multiple verbal altercations during the short time that the guard had been employed at the site. One fellow security guard said that the shooter, whose identity has not been released, previously told his superiors that Ben Shlush had threatened to kill him.
According to a police source Sunday, initial findings indicate that Ben Shlush yelled “Druze, you son of a bitch,” at the guard in the moments before his death.
On Friday, the guard told police that Ben Shlush was in a public bathroom at the site, and that he shouted “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great.” The phrase, though common in Muslim parlance, has historically been shouted by terrorists ahead of perpetrating attacks in Israel.
According to the guard, Ben Shlush reached into his pocket while shouting the Arabic phrase, at which point the guard felt that his life was in danger so he opened fire.
Magen David Adom crews attempted to resuscitate Ben Shlush, who succumbed to his wounds at the scene.
The police opened an investigation into the incident and interrogated the guard at length. He was then arrested and a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge remanded him for five days. A gag order was placed on the guard’s identity.
At the remand hearing, the judge described the incident as “severe. It ended in the death of an innocent person.” The judge noted that the guard kept silent throughout the hearing.
Western Wall rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch expressed his deep sorrow over the shooting and said, “regardless of the circumstances, such an incident is a grave tragedy.”
Ben Shlush was a familiar figure at the Western Wall area, reports said Friday, with some describing him as an apparently mentally unstable but harmless individual.
A witness at the scene who knew Ben Shlush expressed dismay regarding the shooting. ”I don’t understand why he was shot. Everybody knows him and his behavior. He often acted in a nervous manner. What has happened here is not normal,” said David Dahan.
The victim was “sitting down this morning, reading the newspaper as usual,” Dahan continued. For some reason, “he began screaming and after that he approached the bathroom. After a short time, I heard at least seven or 10 gunshots.”
Acquaintances said Ben Shlush was homeless and was residing in the Chabad House near the Western Wall. He had previously lived in Hadera, Channel 2 said.
“Why didn’t they shoot at his legs? Why was he shot 10 times?” asked his ex-wife in an interview to Maariv Sunday. “My ex-husband was a well-known and well-liked figure in Jerusalem. Despite our divorce, we always loved each other.”
Ben Shlush’s 16 year-old daughter said she was shocked by the news. She described her father as a man who was always trying to help others.
The guard’s lawyer told reporters that his client was new to the job and was not familiar with Ben Shlush.
The company that employs the guard said he had undergone a full, 25-day training course for the job.