California synagogue shooting leaves one dead; suspect John Earnest in custody | News Coverage from USA

California synagogue shooting leaves one dead; suspect John Earnest in custody

One woman was killed and three others were wounded when a man entered a synagogue during Passover services Saturday at the Chabad of Poway temple and opened fire with an AR-style assault weapon shortly before 11:30 a.m. 

The name of the victim has not yet been released, but among those injured includes the rabbi who was conducting services.

Poway is about 25 miles northeast of San Diego and the city’s mayor, President Donald Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom all called the attack a hate crime.

The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, was arrested and is being questioned by authorities. 

Fred Nasseri, a longtime congregant at Chabad of Poway, told USA Today that despite the incident “we will not be broken. This is not going to break us.”

Here is what we know so far. 

How was the suspect caught? 

An off-duty Border Patrol officer was working as a security guard at inside the temple  when the attack unfolded. He fired on the gunman as the suspect fled the area, hitting the gunman’s car, authorities told reporters during an afternoon news conference. 

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said that as one of his officers was on the way to the shooting, he overheard on the scanner that the suspect had called into police, saying “he was just involved in this shooting” and giving his location along Interstate 15. The officer quickly spotted the suspect, who pulled over and jumped out of his vehicle with his hands up, surrendering to authorities. 

Who is the suspect?

San Diego Sheriff William Gore said authorities were poring over John Earnest’s social media accounts and a letter that Gore described as a “manifesto” posted online around the time of the attack.

Gore said officials were working to verify the posting’s authenticity and did not offer details on any motive. But the letter supposedly details the shooter’s hateful motivations and his reasons for targeting members of the Jewish faith. 

Earnest was also being investigated in connection with the arson at a mosque in nearby Escondido last month, Gore said. 

Earnest was a student at Cal State University San Marcos, school officials said and had attended Mount Carmel High school. 

Political response

President Donald Trump called the attack a “hate crime” before he departed the White House for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Saturday night. He also praised the response by law enforcement and offered his condolences to those affected in the attack. 

“My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected – the families, the loved ones – by the, obviously – looks right now based on my last conversations – looks like a hate crime,” Trump said. “Hard to believe, hard to believe.” 

California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom‏ said those in his state, like other parts of the world, should not have to fear due to their religion. 

“Charleston, Pittsburgh, Quebec, New Zealand – now our own Poway, California. No one should ever fear going to their place of worship,” he said on Twitter. “Hate continues to fuel horrific and cowardly acts of violence across our state, country, and world. It must be called out. CA stands with Poway.”

 

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