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Synagogue shooting suspect charged with murder

The synagogue was celebrating the last day of the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover.


Elizabeth VanMetre


One person is dead and three injured after a gunman opened fire in a San Diego-area synagogue on Saturday.

The congregation of Chabad of Poway was celebrating the last day of Passover when the gunman opened fire using an assault-style rifle.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who built the congregation over the past three decades, was injured, as were two members of an Israeli family. Lori Kaye, 60, a founding member of the congregation, was killed in the shooting.

The shooter, identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, initially sped away but eventually was pulled over and surrendered to police. The mayor of Poway, Steve Vaus, referred to the shooting as a hate crime, according to the Washington Post. 

A “manifesto” linked to Earnest claims he was inspired by the gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand in March. The writer stated that he was a white supremacist and anti-Semite. The form of the manifesto closely mirrors that of the manifesto linked to the alleged New Zealand shooter, according to the Post. The writer of the manifesto also claims responsibility for a fire at a nearby mosque last month. Police are looking into his involvement in the fire at the Islamic Center of Escondido. No one was hurt in that fire.

“We are aware of his manifesto, which we are in the process of reviewing to determine its validity and authenticity,” Sheriff William Gore told reporters, according to the Daily Beast.

The manifesto was first posted on the message board 8chan before Earnest opened fire. The post including the manifesto also apparently included a link to live stream the shooting, according to NBC

An off-duty Border Patrol officer who was working as a security guard apparently shot at the gunman as he drove away. 

Investigators believe Earnest’s gun malfunctioned at some point during the attack, according to the Post.

Saturday’s attack took place exactly six months after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, in which 46-year-old Robert Bowers killed 11 people. That attack was also praised in the manifesto attributed to the shooter.

The two men and the young child who were injured have been discharged from the hospital, according to CNN. The gunman had no previous criminal record but has been charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He is being held without bail.


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