The shooter in a synagogue attack on Saturday was identified as John Earnest, a man who spread anti-Semitic conspiracies online just hours before the shooting.
By Associated Press
California authorities identified the gunman who opened fire inside a synagogue near San Diego as worshipers celebrated the last day of a major Jewish holiday as John Earnest, a 19-year-old nursing school student who posted an anti-Jewish screed online about an hour before the attack.
The poster of the manifesto also praised the suspects accused of carrying out deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand last month and at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27.
One woman, identified as 60-year-old Lori Kaye, was killed in the attack on Saturday.Those injured in the shooting were Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan, 8, and Almog Peretz, 34, said Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, executive director of Chabad of San Diego County.
There were indications an AR-type assault weapon might have malfunctioned after the gunman fired numerous rounds inside the Chabad of Poway, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.
An off-duty Border Patrol agent working as a security guard fired at the shooter as he ran away, missing him but striking his getaway vehicle, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.
Shortly after fleeing, Earnest called 911 to report the shooting, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said. When an officer reached him on a roadway, “the suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody,” Nisleit said.
President Donald Trump and other elected officials decried what they called an anti-Semitic attack exactly six months since 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest assault on Jews in U.S. history.
Earnest has no criminal record, but investigators were looking into a claim he made in an online manifesto about setting a fire at a mosque in nearby Escondido last month, Gore said. There was damage but no injuries.
Gore said authorities were reviewing copies of his social media posts and were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles north of San Diego.
California State University, San Marcos, confirmed Earnest was a student on the dean’s list and said the school was “dismayed and disheartened” that he was suspected in “this despicable act.”
There was no known threat after Earnest was arrested, but authorities boosted patrols at places of worship as a precaution, police said.