Fatal Shooting at Chabad Congregation Synagogue in Poway, San Diego County
A man has been taken into custody in connection with a shooting at a synagogue in Poway on Saturday afternoon.
Poway mayor Steve Vaus says that one person has died and three people are injured in an apparent hate crime at the Congregation Chabad synagogue.
Chabad is an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement. The shooting coincides with the end of Passover.
Tragic news that a gunman has attacked Chabad of Poway synagogue, on this, the last day of Passover, a day that is supposed to be a celebration of faith and freedom. I am thinking of, and praying for, those hurt and affected.
— Rep. Scott Peters (@RepScottPeters) April 27, 2019
Poway is a city of approximately 48,000 people in San Diego County in Southern California.
On this last day of Passover, I was heartbroken to hear of another senseless shooting in a place of worship. My heart & prayers go out to all affected in the community.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 27, 2019
UPDATE: The fatality is an older female identified as Lori Kaye, who attempted to shield their congregation’s rabbi from the gunfire. The three injured, including the rabbi and a child, were taken to a hospital.
The suspect has been identified as a 19-year-old white male named John T. Earnest, who fled the scene after the synagogue shooting. An off-duty Border Patrol agent reportedly opened fire on the suspect, and Earnest was apprehended in his car, surrendering to police with his hands raised.
According to a manifesto published online allegedly before the shooting, Earnest also takes responsibility for an Escondido Mosque arson a week prior.
In the manifesto, Earnest states he was attending nursing school but did not specify the exact location. On Reddit, Earnest said he planned to livestream the shooting on Facebook but his account has since been deactivated. He wrote that the suspects responsible for the New Zealand and Pittsburgh mosque shootings were his inspiration for the planned shooting in Poway. He also explicitly stated that he did not like President Donald Trump.
This shooting took place six months after the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in American history — a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead. That attack was also described as a targeted hate crime from a suspect who posted anti-Semitic comments online.