John Earnest, 19, has been accused of killing one person and injuring three others at a San Diego, California synagogue
The 19-year-old accused of killing one person and injuring three others at a California synagogue allegedly tried to burn down a mosque last month.
John Earnest was taken into custody following the shooting at the Chabad of Poway Jewish congregation in San Diego on Saturday.
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack. The three injured victims were identified as Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, an eight-year-old girl visiting from Israel, and the girl’s 34-year-old uncle Almog Peretz, who was also visiting from Israel.
A manifesto posted online shortly before the attack and purporting to be by Earnest cites hatred of Jewish people as the motive for the attack, and takes credit for a separate arson attack on an Escondido mosque last month.
The manifesto author claimed he tried to burn down the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido on March 24, adding that he spray-painted the message ‘For Brenton Tarrant’ in the parking lot of the mosque.
Tarrant allegedly killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, a week before the arson attack in Escondido.
Authorities at the time said the suspect had left a message in graffiti in the mosque’s parking lot that referenced the New Zealand shooting.
Surveillance video captured a suspect pouring a flammable liquid near a side door of the mosque and then setting it on fire. People who were inside the mosque at the time were able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
Authorities are now investigating Ernest’s alleged involvement in the arson attack.
A manifesto posted online shortly before the attack and purporting to be by Earnest cites hatred of Jewish people as the motive for the attack, and takes credit for a separate arson attack on an Escondido mosque last month
The manifesto author took credit for an unsolved arson attack against the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido on March 24, adding that he spray-painted the message ‘For Brenton Tarrant’ in the parking lot of the mosque
The manifesto author wrote that he was carrying out the attack on the synagogue because he was a good Christian.
‘My god understands why I did what I did,’ it read, according to
The author claims that Jewish people were responsible for the murder of Christ and now control the media and economy.
‘Every Jew young and old has contributed to these,’ it reads. ‘For these crimes they deserve nothing but hell. I will send them there.’
The manifesto author revealed he believed he would be freed from prison and promised to ‘continue the fight’.
In the 4,000-word manifesto, which was posted online before the shooting, the author described himself as a 19-year-old nursing student and native of California.
Earnest was a student at California State University, San Marcos, CSUSM President Karen Haynes confirmed in a statement.
The author of the manifesto said that he had been playing piano since the age of four. Video from social media shows that Earnest is a talented piano player.
‘If you told me even six months ago that I would do this I would have been surprised,’ the author wrote. ‘I’m just a normal dude who wanted to have a family, help and heal people, and play piano.’
Synagogue members console one another outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday on Saturday in Poway
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, (pictured) was identified as the woman who was killed during the horrific attack on Saturday
Almog Peretz, 34, was among the injured. He had been visiting family in the area for the Passover holiday from Israel
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was shot in the hand, but witnesses say he continued to deliver a sermon during the shooting
An unconfirmed manifesto purporting to be by Earnest cites hatred of Jewish people as the motive for the attack
Video from social media shows that Earnest is a talented piano player. The author of the manifesto said that he had been playing piano since the age of four
He wrote that he was inspired by the Christchurck attack, revealing that Tarrant was his ‘catalyst’.
The author also references the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue exactly six months to the day before the Poway attack, as well as the suspect in that case, Robert Bowers. Both Bowers and Tarrant are in custody.
Like Tarrant in his own writings, the manifesto author states that his end goal is to prompt the US government to begin confiscating guns, predicting that a civil war will ensue. The author said he had been planning the attack for four weeks.
The author of the manifesto also wrote that he does not support President Donald Trump, calling the president ‘Jew-loving’ and ‘anti-White’.
Much of the manifesto consists of a long list of detailed grievances against Jewish people, accusing them of planning a genocide against the ‘European race’.
A car, allegedly used by the gunman who killed one at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, is pictured, few hundred feet from the Interstate 15 off-ramp north of San Diego, California
Heavily armed San Diego police officers approach a house thought to be the home of 19 year-old John T. Earnest, who is a suspect in the shooting of several people in a Poway synagogue, on Saturday
Earnest’s father is seen being interviewed by police. Public records show that the father is a high school teacher and the president of an orthodox Presbyterian church in Escondido
There are indications in online postings that the shooter planned to livestream the synagogue attack on Facebook, but did not succeed.
An anonymous post on the imageboard 8chan, posted roughly 30 minutes before the attack, linked to the manifesto and Earnest’s Facebook page, promising a livestream, which never occurred.
The 8chan post also included a ‘playlist’ of songs for the attack and a goodbye note.
The post does not specify an intended target, but makes clear that an imminent attack of some kind is planned.
At least one person saw the post and alerted the FBI, according to a post on Twitter. The person said that they got off the phone only eight minutes prior to the shooting, making a tactical response all but impossible.
‘We are collecting digital evidence and are aware of the manifesto,’ San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a press conference.
Gore said that Earnest had no prior criminal record, and no known ties to white supremacist groups. He said Earnest lived with his parents.
Public records show that Earnest’s father is a high school teacher and the president of an orthodox Presbyterian church in Escondido. The manifesto stated that the shooter did not get his beliefs from his family.
Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday in Poway, California
An FBI agent gives out information to members of the media outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday
Saturday’s shooting unfolded during services on the last day of Passover. There are believed to have been about 100 people inside the synagogue at the time of the attack.
Witnesses say the gunman was wearing a tactical vest and a helmet, according to
There is initial suspicion that the weapon may have jammed during the shooting, limiting the loss of life.
Rabbi Goldstein, who founded the Chabad center in 1986, was reportedly shot and lost two fingers. Witnesses say the rabbi tried to calm the gunman and members of the congregation even after he was wounded.
An armed off-duty Border Patrol agent who was inside the synagogue returned fire at the shooter, who then retreated in a vehicle before calling 911 and surrendering to officers without incident, according to police.=
Trump responded to the shooting in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he departed for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
‘Based on my last conversations, it looks like a hate crime. Hard to believe,’ Trump said. ‘My deepest sympathies go to the families who were affected.’
‘It looks like the person has been apprehended, no more danger, and law enforcement has done a fantastic job,’ he continued.
Once at the rally, Trump made additional remarks, calling the shooting ‘horrific’ and saying, ‘we forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated’.
‘Incredible response today by law enforcement. And I especially want to recognize a certain off-duty border patrol agent who bravely returned fire and helped disrupt the attack and saved so many lives. Border patrol!’ added Trump.
President Donald Trump responded to the shooting in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he departed for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, center, speaks at a news conference held outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday in Poway, California. Several people were injured and one died in a shooting at the synagogue
Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, speaking from a police command center, characterized Saturday’s shooting as a ‘hate crime,’ saying his assessment was based on statements uttered by the gunman when he entered the synagogue.
The attack occurred shortly before 11.30am in Poway, a suburb of about 50,000 residents, when the suspect walked into the synagogue and started shooting, said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore.
As he was making his getaway, an off-duty US Border Patrol agent who was inside the synagogue opened fire on the suspect, striking the vehicle but apparently missing the suspect.
A San Diego officer was en route to the shooting scene when he overheard a California Highway Patrol (CHP) radio dispatch ‘of a suspect who had called into CHP to report that he was just involved in this shooting and his location,’ San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit recounted.
‘The officer was actually on the freeway and he clearly saw the suspect in his vehicle. The suspect pulled over and jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody,’ Nisleit added.
He said the rifle believed to be the murder weapon was found on the front passenger seat of the car.
People hug next to police tape across the street from the Chabad of Poway Synagogue after a shooting on Saturday in Poway
Two people hug as another talks to a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue. There have been four confirmed victims of the shooting, with one left dead
Police are seen responding to the shooting after a gunman opened fire at the Chabad of Poway congregation on Saturday
The shooting comes on the last day of Passover. According to the synagogue’s website, the congregation were hosting a Passover Holiday Celebration that began at 11am and was scheduled to last all day
Residents place flowers and messages of support at an intersection next to the Chabad of Poway synagogue where a gunman opened fire earlier in the day killing one person and injuring three, in Poway, California
A group gathers outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh for a vigil to honor the victims of the Saturday attack on a synagogue in Poway. It is six months to the day that a gunman shot and killed 11 people while they worshipped at the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018
Major Vaus told
‘This shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,’ Major Vaus stated, adding that the shooter had ‘hate’ in his heart.
It’s believed the man fired between 12 and 14 shots inside the center.
Witnesses say that even after being shot, Rabbi Goldstein called for unity and prayer among the congregation.
‘Rabbi said, “We are united,”’ said Minoo Anvari, a refugee from Iran.
‘This is something bad (that) is happening all over. And we have to believe that this bad thing is real and we don’t have to ignore it,’ she added.
‘We have to open our eyes. He prayed for peace. I respect him – even in spite of being injured he refused to go to hospital and he spoke. And he finished his speech and he then left the synagogue.’