Nicholas Thalasinos, a Messianic Jew who hoped to visit Israel for the first time next year, has been identified as one of the 14 victims killed on Wednesday in a rampage at a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California.
In an interview with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Vince Armijo, who identified himself as the church leader of the Shiloh Messianic Congregation near San Bernardino, said that “Nick” Thalasinos had been a member for three years.
Mr Armijo added that Mr Thalasinos had renewed his wedding vows six months ago with his wife Jennifer under a chuppah and “loved Torah.”
In a related story, Jennifer Thalasinos told the New York Times that her husband had worked alongside and been friendly with Syed Rizwan Farook, identified as the shooter in the rampage.
Messianic Jews consider themselves Jewish but believe Jesus to be the messiah. Jewish religious leaders do not accept the sect as Jewish.
Mr Armijo, the Messianic church leader, told the Jewish Journal that Nicholas Thalasinos had attended Shabbat services regularly and was looking forward to participating in a congregational visit to Israel next year.
Also killed in the shooting was Daniel Kaufman, 42, who worked for the Coffee N More shop which leased space from the Inland Regional Center, where the attack took place. Mr Kaufman oversaw on-the-job training for Coffee N More employees with developmental disabilities. Ryan Reyes, Mr Kaufman's partner, said: "The world will suffer from having one less person like him in it...he is a ray of light to so many people and so supportive".