San Diego synagogue shooting suspect wrote manifesto after being inspired by Christchurch mosque shooter
The gunman who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on a congregation inside a suburban San Diego synagogue, killing one person and injuring three others, was motivated by hate, the authorities believe. He reportedly entered the Chabad of Poway in the 16000 block of Chabad Way at about 11:20 a.m. and began firing indiscriminately.
19-year-old John T. Earnest from Rancho Penasquitos was arrested shortly after the shooting and was identified later. The young man appears to have also written a letter that he posted on social media which was filled with anti-Semitic content, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In the manifesto, he also spoke about planning the horrific attack.
Earnest, who is a white American, wrote that he was willing to sacrifice his future "for the sake of my people". The manifesto states: "How long did it take you to plan the attack? Four weeks. Four weeks ago, I decided I was doing this. Four weeks later, I did it."
The manifesto also states that he has claimed responsibility for an arson attack that gutted the Islamic Center in Escondido on March 24. There were seven people inside the center when the fire started at around 3:15 a.m. but no one was injured. The mysterious arsonist had left a note behind referring to the mass shooting at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques on March 15 that left 50 people dead.
Earnest wrote in the manifesto: "I scorched a mosque in Escondido with gasoline a week after [the New Zealand shootings]". He then said that the people inside "woke up and put out the fire pretty much immediately after I drove away which was unfortunate."
The teen has commended Robert Bowers, the man responsible for killing 11 and wounding six inside the Tree of Life synagogue shootings that took place in Pittsburgh exactly six months before this attack. He has also applauded infamous German dictator Adolf Hitler. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has condemned the shooting and called it a "hate crime", based on the statements the shooter was heard making as he was entering the synagogue.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Meleen said a major chunk of the congregants was huddled behind the synagogue after the shooting. Around 100 people had been inside the temple at the time of the incident celebrating Passover. He said: "As you can imagine, it was an extremely chaotic scene with people running everywhere when we got here."
The Sheriff's department confirmed that a 60-year-old woman was killed and three others — an 8-year-old girl and two adult males — were wounded in the incident. The injured members were immediately taken to the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said in a tweet that the incident was reported at the synagogue just before 11:30 a.m local time.
The synagogue is in a suburb about 30 minutes north of San Diego.