Poway Synagogue Shooting Suspect John Earnest Charged With Murder
John T. Earnest is charged with one count of murder, and three counts of attempted murder and being held on no bail according to records released by police.
The 19-year-old man accused of using an assault rifle to open fire on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in suburban San Diego was charged with murder Sunday afternoon, according to jail records filed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
John Earnest was charged with one count of murder in the death of 60-year-old Lori Kaye and three counts of attempted murder in the mass shooting that took place on the last day of Passover.
Earnest is being held in county jail on no bail, according to court records. He will be arraigned on Wednesday. Police have said that there are no other suspects in the shooting.
Local officials have called Earnest's actions a hate crime. Authorities, including San Diego County detectives and local FBI agents, are combing through evidence to determine whether apply the state statute for his actions and determine if he violated federal civil rights laws.
Investigators are currently reviewing Earnest’s sprawling multi-page manifesto published just before the attack, and investigating Earnest’s potential involvement in a mosque fire in Escondido last month.
Earnest stepped in to the 33-year-old synagogue at about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, exactly six months after Robert Bowers allegedly slaughtered 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Saturday was the last day of Passover, and the congregation was in the midst of a holiday celebration.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was saved from the gunfire when Kaye lept between him and the shooter, described the carnage to CNN as “unfathomable, indescribable terror.”
Because of Kaye’s bravery, Goldstein was only shot in the hand; Kaye passed away from her wounds hours after the attack.
“It’s unfathomable why this beautiful, beautiful, wonderful human being would be shot down,” Goldstein said.
Three other people were wounded, including 9-year-old Noya Dahan, who was struck by shrapnel in her leg and face, and Almog Peretz, who was hit in the leg while trying to usher a group of children to safety.