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Alleged San Diego synagogue shooter John Earnest had 50 …

Posted By on May 1, 2019

The 19-year-old man who allegedly unleashed a barrage of gunfire on members of a Southern California synagogue was arraigned Tuesday afternoon as prosecutors released new details of the attack, including that the suspect had 50 rounds of ammunition on him when he was arrested.

A San Diego County prosecutor said in court that when the suspect, John T. Earnest, was arrested he was wearing a tactical vest containing five ammunition magazines, holding 50 bullets. He also said the entire rampage was caught on video.

One day after purchasing an AR-style assault rifle, Earnest allegedly stormed a Passover service at the Chabad of Poway near San Diego on Saturday, killing a member of the temple and wounding three others, including an 8-year-old girl, according to authorities.

He was arraigned Tuesday on one count of murder with a hate crime special circumstance and gun allegations, and three counts of attempted murder with hate crime and gun allegations. He was also arraigned on a charge of arson on a house of worship stemming from a fire he allegedly ignited at the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in the San Diego County town of Escondido on March 24.

Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of Earnest by his court-appointed attorney, Deputy Public Defender John O'Connell.

Leonard Trinh, a San Diego County deputy district attorney, said in court that Earnest allegedly fired eight to 10 rounds before his gun malfunctioned.

He said synagogue member Lori Kaye, 60, was shot twice in the attack and killed.

Earnest, wearing glasses and a blue jail clothes, showed no emotion during the arraignment and only answered "Yes," when asked if he waived his right to a speedy trial.

If convicted of the charges, Earnest faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death, a prosecutor said. A moratorium on the death penalty in California went into effect last month.

Judge Joseph P. Brannigan ordered Earnest to be held in jail without bail, saying he is "an obvious and extraordinary risk to public safety."

Earnest was ordered to return to court for a hearing on May 30. His preliminary hearing is set for July 8.

"We support religious freedom and we must defend it with everything that we have and we're dedicated to delivering justice in this case," San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said at a news conference following the arraignment.

"As prosecutors, we deal with violence on a daily basis, but when the target of violence is an entire religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, the victim pool becomes very large," Stephan said. "It is everybody who practices that faith or belongs to that race or ethnicity and that is why hate crimes are taken so seriously and California has some of the strictest hate crimes law in the country."

She said the killing of Kaye elevated the case to one of capital murder.

"The special circumstance being that Lori Kaye was killed because of her religion," Stephan said.

Earnest's parents released a statement Monday saying they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the attack.

"To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries," the parents' statement reads.

Just prior to the synagogue attack, Earnest allegedly posted a threatening letter filled with anti-Semitic and Islamophobic references online and wrote he was planning to livestream an attack, officials said. In the writings, he expressed white supremacist views and claimed responsibility for the mosque fire.

Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said they were alerted to the letter by an online tipster five minutes before Earnest burst into the Poway synagogue.

"The submission included a link to the post, but did not offer specific information about the post's author or threat location," the FBI said in a statement to ABC News. "Although FBI employees immediately took action to determine the post's author, the shooting occurred before the suspect could be fully identified."

The FBI is conducting an investigation of the synagogue attack and collecting evidence for possible federal hate crime charges against Earnest, officials said.

Kaye was a member of the synagogue and was fatally shot in the lobby while her husband and daughter were elsewhere in the building.

"I think Lori took the bullet for me and I think she took the bullet for the whole congregation," Yisroel Goldstein, the rabbi of the synagogue, told ABC News.

Goldstein was shot in both hands during the attack. The index finger on his right hand was blown off and doctors managed to save the index finger on his left hand.

Also hurt in the rampage were 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle, Almog Peretz, 34. Both suffered shrapnel wounds.

"I really don't feel safe because this is not the first and definitely not the last time this is going to happen," Dahan told ABC News. "So now I know just to watch out and stuff for dangerous things to happen."

Stephan said Tuesday that the gunman's assault rifle either malfunctioned or he was unable to release the magazine and reload.

He was chased out of the synagogue by two members of the congregation, Oscar Stewart, 51-year-old military veteran, and an off-duty Border Patrol agent, who fired at the suspect's car as it drove off.

"There is only one villain in this case, but there are many heroes," Stephan said.

Authorities said Earnest, who wore a helmet mounted with a camera that malfunctioned and prevented him from livestreaming the attack, surrendered immediately and was placed under arrest.

Stephan said that prior to his arrest, Earnest called 911 to report the shooting and tell a dispatcher that he was armed and gave a location about two miles from the synagogue where a K-9 officer took him into custody.

Earnest, one of five children in his family who grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in San Diego County, is a pianist and was an honor student at Mt. Carmel High School, where his father is a teacher, according to ABC affiliate station KGTV in San Diego. He was also a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Escondido.

In their statement, Earnest's parents said their son was "raised in a family, faith, and community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do."

"How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act," the parents' statement reads. "To that end, our family is cooperating with investigators ... Our hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors. Our thanks go to the first responders who prevented even greater loss of life and the well-wishers who have supported us. And we pray for peace."

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Alleged San Diego synagogue shooter John Earnest had 50 ...

Poway synagogue shooting: Two congregations torn apart

Posted By on May 1, 2019

After a shooting at Chabad of Poway Synagogue left one person dead, members of the community come together to heal. Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

ESCONDIDO, Calif. Two religious congregations about 12 miles apart one Jewish and the other Christian were bound by tragedy over the weekend.

One wasa synagogue ripped apart by gunfire;the other was a churchthe suspected shooter's familyregularly attended.What both sharedSunday: an overwhelming sense of grief as worshippersgrappled to make sense of the senseless.

Their leaders, arabbi and apastor, did their best to show how they are rising above hate.

At the Chabad of Poway, Orthodox Jews had gathered for Passover when a gunman burst in with a semiautomatic rifle Saturday and started shooting, killing a worshipper and wounding the rabbi and two others.

Heather Fay with her son Marshall came to add flowers and notes at the memorial site across from the Chabad of Poway synagogue on April 28, 2019.(Photo: Nick Oza, USA TODAY Network)

More: Her 'final good deed': Woman hailed as hero after taking bullets to protect rabbi during synagogue shooting

The next morning at the Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church, also nestled in the picturesque rolling hills northeast of San Diego,the minister led the congregation in collective soul searching over how a 19-year-old,a member of one of their most respected families, could have allegedly carried out a crime so horrific, one that so flew in the face of the church's values and teachings.

At both congregations, the sense of horror was palpable. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein enduredthe "indescribable" experience of staring down the barrel of a military-style rifle during a service in his own synagogue.

Here is a young man standing with a rifle, pointing right at me, and I look at him. He had sunglasses on. I couldnt see his eyes. I couldnt see his soul, Goldstein said.

More: Security boosted at mosques, synagogues after shooting; emotional rabbi lauds congregation's bravery

Police saidthat young man was John Earnest, who lived with his parents while attending nearby California State University San Marcos. He had graduated from Mt.Carmel High School, where his father was a teacher, and he was accomplished at the piano and participated on the swim team.Earnest struck many as being unusually reserved.

I tried to talk to John several times, but he just never said anything.I think its not good if someone is as quiet as that,longtime parishionerGerrit Groenewoldsaid at the Escondido church.

The pastor of thechurch, Zach Keele, was so disturbed by the shooting that he called a special session after the mainservice to talk about it with the congregation. Most worshippersstayed, and they allowed a USA TODAY reporter to witness the moment.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein says Lori Kaye, who was shot and killed in a synagogue near San Diego, died to protect others in the congregation. (April 29) AP

Keele, in emotional tones, prayed for the victims,the police investigatorsand the Earnestfamily. He decried the evil that had landed on the church's doorstep. He prayed that the suspect's soul "will be softened."

He reached for consolation, finding little except that the suspect, in amanifesto police saidhe published beforethe crime, didn't blame his family for his radicalization, saying it was based on writinghe encountered online.

More: 1 dead, 3 wounded in shooting at synagogue near San Diego

There is no superior race. We are all created equal," Keele said.We are committed to loving all people."

He saidhe plans to reach out and express my condolences to the synagogue."

Keeleis likely to find a receptive audience for the message in Goldstein. The rabbiemerged Sunday froma hospital where he lost a finger damaged inthe attack determined that the community would heal.

Wow, wow, wow, he said at a rally later Sundayattendedby more than 1,000 people. Look at the love. Look at the warmth. What happened to us, happened to all of us."

Contributing: Amy DiPierro,Rebecca Plevin, The Desert Sun


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Poway synagogue shooting: Two congregations torn apart

Abbas: Europe invented Zionism and Israel lets not fool …

Posted By on April 30, 2019

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed on Monday that Europe created Zionism and Israel.

Abbas made the comments at a meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah, where he delivered a short speech, much of which focused on the Palestinians finances.

The European position I dont want to say it is 100 percent just but it is has started to [show] understanding. Therefore, Ms. Mogherini [Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief] told the Arab League summit in Tunisia that we support the two-state solution and we are against moving [embassies to] Jerusalem and other matters, he said.

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Of course, everything is not in our favor, but such a position coming from Europe is a good thing. This is what we have historically become used to, because you all know Europe is the one that invented this slightly annoys our neighbors Zionism and Israel. It is the one that invented it. Lets not fool ourselves. This is what history says. Whoever has something that refutes this history, go ahead.

At the Arab League summit in Tunisia in late March, Mogherini had said: We need to get back to meaningful negotiations toward the two-state solution, which is the only viable, realistic solution.

Abbas did not explain how he believes Europe created Zionism and Israel. However, he has previously made similar comments.

This picture taken on September 11, 2018, shows a general view of a meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers at the organizations headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo. (AFP Photo/Mohamed El-Shahed)

In a speech in January 2018, the PA president said, Israel is a colonial project with no relationship to Judaism, quoting Abdul Wahab al-Messiri, an Egyptian writer who authored the Encyclopedia of Jews, Judaism and Zionism.

At the time, Israeli politicians and Jewish groups widely panned Abbas for the remark, which overshadowed other comments he made in the same speech about Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

In his remarks on Monday, Abbas also said the Palestinians were not optimistic that Arab states would provide them a financial safety net to overcome a steep financial crisis.

Of course, we have asked the [Arab] brothers for a safety net, he said. If God wills. I mean we do not have high hopes, but if God wills, something will happen. We asked for $100 million per month. We told them we will take it as debtI mean you give us and then we will return the money to youEven on the debt offer, we have not received a response. But we have to bear responsibility and be patient.

The PA president told a meeting of Arab foreign ministers and officials at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo last week that a [financial] safety net must be provided.

In February, Israel started to implement a new law that allows it to withhold taxes from the PA every month equivalent to the amount that it determines the Palestinians pay to security prisoners held in Israeli jails, including terrorists, and the families of dead terrorists.

The Palestinians have protested the law, refusing to receive any of the taxes Israel gathers for them on a monthly basis as long as the Jewish state does not transfer the full amount.

The taxes Israel collects and transfers to the PA make up hundreds of millions of shekels a month more than half its budget.

PA Finance Minister Shukri Bishara has announced that Ramallah has undertaken a series of austerity measures to mitigate the impact of the lack of funds on government operations, including the slashing of public employee salaries.

In March, many PA employees received only half of their salaries.

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Synagogue shooting: Poway, California, Mayor Steve Vaus calls …

Posted By on April 30, 2019

The mayor of the California city where a gunman opened fire at a synagogue Saturday called theshooting"an affront to humanity" that made him "sick to my stomach." Police say the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, opened fire on worshippers celebrating the last day of Passover at Chabad of Poway, leaving one woman dead and three others injured.

"This is an affront to our community and an affront to humanity for this to happen," Steve Vaus, the mayor of Poway, California, said in an interview Sunday on CBSN. "Hate has no place in any community, least of all a community like Poway."

The woman who was killed has been identified as 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who friends said was shot while trying to protect the rabbi. She was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

Vaus said he "was sick to my stomach" once the sheriff's department informed him of the shooting on Saturday. The mayor praised the response from local, state and federal law enforcement, saying they "all worked brilliantly together to bring this to a quick resolution."

The shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, when Earnest allegedly entered Chabad of Poway and opened fire on worshippers with what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said Saturday. After engaging in a firefight with an off-duty Border Patrol agent, Earnest fled the scene and later called police to turn himself in, Gore said.

Earnest has been booked on one count murder and three counts attempted murder and may be charged with a hate crime. The shooting happened six months to the day of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead.

"This hate crime is not who Poway is," Vaus said Sunday. "Poway will wrap its arms around all of its community, including our Jewish brothers and sisters here at the Chabad, and we will walk with them step by step through this, and we will all be better. Our hearts are broken, and there will be a hole in our heart for the life lost, and for those that were injured and scarred, but we will get through this together."

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Synagogue shooting: Poway, California, Mayor Steve Vaus calls ...

San Diego synagogue shooting: Army vet, Border Patrol agent’s …

Posted By on April 30, 2019

Oscar Stewart of Rancho Bernardo, was the one who screamed at the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, and ran him out. Nick Oza (ozan), Arizona Republic

When Jonathan Morales andOscar Stewart heard the gunshots, they ran toward them.

The off-duty Border Patrol agent and an Iraq War Army veteran helped stop a suspected gunman who had opened fire at Chabad of Poway on Saturdayin what authorities praised as an "act of courage."

One person died and three more were injured in the hate-fueledattack during Passover services.

Stewart, 51, was in the back of the room when the shots rang out, he told reporters. The veteran said his military training kicked in.

"I ran to fire. That's what I did. I didn't plan it. I didn't think about it. It's just what I did," he said.

What we know now: Funeral service for San Diego synagogue victim who shielded rabbi to be held Monday, and more updates

Stewart said he started yelling expletives at the gunmen, who stopped shooting when he heard Stewart's voice.

Get down! and Im going to kill you, Stewart said he yelled.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the suspected gunman fled the synagogue to a nearby vehicle. Stewart was in close pursuit.

"Stewart caught up to the vehicle as the suspect was about to drive away," the department said in a statement.

Stewart said he began punching the shooter's window whenMorales told him to get out of the way.

"He yelled, 'Clear back, I have a gun,'" Stewart said. Then, Morales began firing.

More: Funeral for 'hero' synagogue shooting victim today; emotional rabbi lauds congregation's bravery

The off-duty agent hit the car, but the gunman drove away, police said. Authorities later arrested John T. Earnest, 19,alongInterstate 15. A rifle was found in the front passenger seat, police said.

"Mr.Stewart risked his life to stop the shooter and saved lives in the process," the sheriff's department said in a statement.

Oscar Stewart of Rancho Bernardo, was the one who screamed at the suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, and ran him out, gives media interview from the horrific incident at the memorial site across Chabad of Poway synagogue.(Photo: Nick Oza, The Arizona Republic)

Stewart's heroics didn't stop there. The man said he rushed back into the synagogue where he saw Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein bleeding from his hand and congregantLori Gilbert-Kaye on the ground.

"I immediately went to the lady on the floor and started doing CPR on her. She didnt make it,"Stewart said.

When houses of worship become targets: San Diego synagogue latest in a deadly trend

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune,Stewart said he served in Iraq from March 2003 to April 2004. He had also been abomb disposal tech in the Navy, and joined the Army after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"I never thought Id hear gunfire again," he told theUnion-Tribune.

Goldstein said Moralesrecently discovered his Jewish roots and traveled more than three hours from El Centro to pray with the congregation. The rabbi recalled telling Morales, Please arm yourself when you are here. We never know when well need it.

"I don't think I'm a hero,"Stewart said."I just did what I did,"

Contributing:Trevor Hughes, Chris Woodyard, Doyle Rice and Joel Shannon.


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Youngest victim of California synagogue shooting says ‘I don …

Posted By on April 29, 2019

At the age of 8, Noya Dahan has already fled rocket attacks in the Gaza Strip, witnessed her home in California vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti and, now, she's survived a shooting at her synagogue that left one beloved member dead and she, her rabbi and her uncle with bullet wounds.

The youngest victim of Saturday's shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, Noya told ABC News that the safety of the one place she used to feel secure in, a synagogue, has been shattered.

"I never thought that was going to happen to me because like it's a safe place, you're supposed to feel safe," she said.

A day after an alleged 19-year-old gunman, identified by police as John Earnest, opened fire inside the synagogue, turning a Passover service into what Noya's father described as "like a war," survivors spoke out, offering details on the bullets, blood and chaos they witnessed in the latest gun rampage in America.

Noya was hit in the face, near her right cheek and in her right leg by bullet fragments during the attack. She said she will never forget how loud the gunshots were or seeing her rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, bleeding profusely from both hands after being shot by the gunman.

"I saw the rabbi jumping like crazy, and I couldn't even imagine...," Noya said. "I felt like I was in a movie or in a dream or something."

Rabbi Goldstein, who founded the synagogue 33 years ago with his wife, said he was just getting prepared to deliver his Passover sermon at about 11:30 a.m. when he went out into the lobby and ran into one of the temple's members, Lori Kaye, 60.

"She's been a member with us since the '90s. She's one of the most kindest persons, an activist, who's always there to help others, to help the world. That was her mission in life, just to be out, to do kindness and goodness," Goldstein told ABC News on Sunday.

He said Kaye was at the service with her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, and their 22-year-old daughter, Hannah.

"She asked me what time Yizkor was," he said of a special pray for the departed. "Her mother just recently died and she came to memorialize her."

He said he went to his office to freshen up, and when he came back Kaye had confirmed on her own the time for the Yizkor prayer service.

"We both looked and smiled at each other," the rabbi said. "I turned around to walk into the banquet hall, where I was going to wash my hands, and I heard the first loud noise."

At first he didn't know if Kaye had fallen or if a table had toppled over.

"I turned around and I see the shooter standing there in position with a rifle moving it towards me," Goldstein said.

He said he put both his hands in front of his face in an effort to protect himself. A bullet severed the index finger of his right hand, and another nearly did the same to his left index finger, he said.

He saw Kaye, mortally wounded, lying on the floor. Bullets continued to fly by on either side of him, he said.

"I was centimeters from death," Goldstein said. "I turn my back towards him and he's shooting bullets towards me, trying to get me down in the banquet hall."

He said he saw a group of children in the banquet hall, including his grandchildren and Noya and he immediately began to gather them up to get them out of harm's way.

Noya's uncle, Almog Peretz, 34, who lives in Israel but is in California on vacation, told ABC News that he was walking from the banquet hall when he heard the shots and saw the gunman.

"I turn around and I saw him and the gun, the big gun. He looks at me and he shoots one after one," he said.

He said he picked up a 5-year-old girl walking next to him, lifted another child in his arms and began to direct up to 20 children out a side door, directing them to the rabbi's house next door.

He said he didn't realize he had been shot in the back of the right leg until a relative noticed that the back of his pant leg was full of blood.

His brother-in-law, Noya's father, Israel Dahan, said he was frantically searching for his three children. He said he initially feared one of his girls who had been in the restroom was dead and sent his brother-in-law in to find her.

Israel Dahan, who moved his family to California to get away from the danger of rocket attacks on their former home in the Gaza Strip, said his daughter was frantic, but alive.

Rabbi Goldstein, who received a phone call from President Donald Trump while speaking with ABC News, said a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Jonathan, who had become a member of his congregation and another member named Oscar Stewart, a former military soldier, confronted the gunman.

"One of the miracles that happened here was that the rifle got jammed," he said of the gunman's weapon.

He said Oscar and Jonathan chased the gunman out of the synagogue. He said Jonathan, the Border Patrol agent, picked up a gun apparently dropped by another member of the congregation, and fired at the suspect, hitting his car as he drove off.

A police K-9 officer saw the gunman nearby, officials said. The suspect jumped out of his car, put his hands up and was arrested, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said during the conference on Saturday.

Rabbi Goldstein said that once the shooter fled the synagogue he went back inside and saw Lori Kaye lying unconscious on the floor. He said her husband entered the lobby and fainted.

Initially refusing medical attention, Goldstein, his bleeding hands wrapped in a pray cloth, addressed his terrified flock.

"I saw the sight of fear, of anger and despair on my fellow Jews..., I got up on the chair and I said, 'Guys, Am Yisrael Chai,'" he said reciting the Hebrew phrase for 'the people of Israel live.'

"'We are alive,'" he said he told the worshipers. "'We need to stand tall. We need to be proud of our heritage and do not allow any of this terrorism to tear us down."

Since the shooting, he has asked himself why he survived.

"What do I do with this? What do I do with my survival? I think there is a message that I need to share with everyone," he said. "And we've got to get the message out there: People need to be aware that anti-Semitism is a reality. It's happening now just like it was happening prior to the holocaust. This is how the holocaust started and we have to get up and stop it."

For young Noya, whose home was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti four years ago, life has changed forever.

"I just kept on dreaming about it. I just couldn't ... dream about something good. I just dreamt about the bad things," she told ABC News. "I really don't feel safe because this is not the first and definitely not the last time this is going to happen. So now I know just to watch out and stuff for dangerous things to happen."

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Youngest victim of California synagogue shooting says 'I don ...

One Dead in Synagogue Shooting Near San Diego; Officials …

Posted By on April 28, 2019

LOS ANGELES The gunman entered the synagogue on Saturday yelling anti-Semitic slurs, and opened fire with an A.R. 15-style gun. He paused when the rabbi of the congregation tried to talk with him. But he fired again, shooting the rabbi in the hand.

His attack left a 60-year-old woman dead, the rabbi wounded and a 34-year-old man and a girl with shrapnel wounds.

It was the Sabbath and the last day of Passover, a holiday that celebrates Jewish freedom.

The shooting, at Chabad of Poway, about 25 miles north of San Diego, is the most recent in a series of deadly attacks at houses of worship, including the mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand last month and the church bombings in Sri Lanka this past week. It came exactly six months after one of the worst acts of violence against the American Jewish community in decades left 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

[Update: Rabbi injured in synagogue shooting says terror will not win.]

Local officials called the shooting in Poway, Calif., a hate crime. The gunman, whom officials identified as John Earnest, a 19-year-old resident of San Diego, screamed that Jews were ruining the world as he stormed the synagogue, according to a government official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

The gunman then fled the building, perhaps because his gun stopped working, the authorities said. An off-duty Border Patrol agent at the synagogue shot at the suspects vehicle as he tried to escape. The bullets punctured the suspects car but did not injure him.

The synagogue did not have a guard at the time, the official said, and there were about 40 to 60 people there at the time of the shooting. Some had come to services especially to say Yizkor, a memorial prayer for the dead that is said on Jewish holidays.

The rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, and three of his congregants were taken to Palomar Medical Center.

The San Diego police chief, David Nisleit, said that after the shooting, the gunman called the California Highway Patrol to report his location on Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo. He then surrendered to a police officer who was responding to the attack, jumping out of his vehicle with his hands up.

The police said they were investigating whether the gunman had posted a manifesto before the shooting on the online message board 8chan.

The document, an anti-Semitic screed filled with racist slurs and white nationalist conspiracy theories, echoes the manifesto that was posted to 8chan by the gunman in last months mosque slayings in Christchurch, New Zealand. The documents author, who identified himself as John Earnest, claimed to have been inspired by the Christchurch massacre, as well as the shooting in Pittsburgh, and motivated by the same white nationalist cause.

President Trump offered his sympathies from Washington. Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community, he said. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which has tracked an increase in anti-Semitic acts in recent years, said the shooting was part of a pattern of deadly extremism.

This was a pointed attack on Chabad, on the visible Jewish community here, and this is a collective attack on all Jewish communities this is anti-Semitism unleashed, Mr. Greenblatt said. In a pattern where prejudice is minimized in an environment where intolerance is trivialized and when prejudice becomes politicized, we shouldnt be surprised.

The author of the manifesto also said that he was responsible for a fire at a mosque in Escondido, Calif., last month, and that he had written graffiti related to the New Zealand attacks at the scene.

Chief Craig Carter of the Escondido Police Department said that investigators were examining whether the claim was legitimate. If it is indeed the same person, that would definitely give closure to the mosque and our community, Chief Carter said.

The document also referred to a live video stream and linked to a Facebook page, an indication that the author may have tried to stream the shooting in real time.

Attendance at the synagogue was larger than usual because of the holiday, with many older congregants there to pray for their deceased parents, said Oscar Stewart, who was inside the synagogue during the shooting. At the time, Rabbi Goldstein was speaking to a congregant in the lobby.

When Mr. Stewart heard shots ring out, he said his training from his years in the military kicked in.

He looked scared, Mr. Stewart said. I yelled as loud as I could in my mean sergeant voice. I yelled, Get down!, and then I ran toward him.

Mr. Stewart said the gunman fled shortly after. He was a coward, he added.

Nancy Levanoni, 80, who has been going to the synagogue for 17 years, said, Apparently, God was looking after us because we got there a little later than normal.

Services started at 10 a.m. and Ms. Levanoni and her husband, Menachem Levanoni, 81, the former president of the synagogue, got there closer to 11:15 a.m.

As we were getting out of the car, we heard gunshots, she said. I thought maybe someone was stepping on those little plastic bubbles.

They headed toward the synagogue, where Ms. Levanoni saw the rabbi bleeding from a finger, where he appeared to have been shot. One of her closest friends was on the floor, she said.

Ms. Levanoni learned that her friend had been shot and was seriously injured. The pair had been friends for 17 years and the victim was very active in the synagogue, she said.

She cant do enough for people around her, Ms. Levanoni said. If you are sick, she brings you food. Shes a wonderful, wonderful person.

Walter Vandivort, who lives in the neighborhood of the synagogue, said he had heard gunshots while he was indoors.

He described the neighborhood as a peaceful, middle-class area that had never seen this kind of violence in the decades he had lived there.

I see the Orthodox Jews walking to their synagogue and weve never had a problem, he said. The Chabad of Poway was established in 1986, according to its website, part of the Lubavitch movement that focuses on outreach.

Poway, which describes itself as the city in the country, is both rural and urban, a place where sports stars have made their homes, and where horse trailers are parked in front of many houses.

Neighbors gathered on the sidewalks near the synagogue as police officers taped off and closed major roads. Officials in San Diego said that they would increase highly visible patrols and security through the weekend, but that there were no other specific threats.

As helicopters flew overhead, Judith Zimmer, a member of Chabad Poway, stood outside of nearby Poway High School, which was being used as a meeting place, and tried to call her daughters in San Diego to tell them that she was fine and had not been at the service at the time of the shooting.

I was going to go with a friend, but she hurt her foot and I decided to stay home, Ms. Zimmer said with tears in her eyes. Were a close-knit group here and Poway is a wonderful place to live, but hate happens all over San Diego. Im sad and disappointed, but Im not afraid.

People held hands as they walked into the high school. One man was holding a teenage girl tightly, his arm wrapped around her. Most of them looked down at the ground as they went inside.

As palm trees swayed under a bright blue sky, officers diverted traffic, and drivers looked out of their windows trying to see past the yellow tape that was blocking the main thoroughfare.

I heard what happened and had to come over and see if I could help, said Avi Edberg, who attends Temple Adat Shalom, another Poway synagogue. My friend is still being interviewed by the police. Im going to wait for her. I know shes not at the hospital, so thats a good thing, right? This is so horrible. Just horrible.

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One Dead in Synagogue Shooting Near San Diego; Officials ...

Poway synagogue shooting: Suspect John Earnest in custody …

Posted By on April 28, 2019

What we know so far

A shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego where worshippers were celebrating the last day of Passover on Saturday left one woman dead and three others injured, authorities said. The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said.

CBS News has confirmed the name of the victim who died is Lori Gilbert-Kaye.

Earnest entered Chabad of Poway and opened fire on worshippers, police said. The weapon appeared to be an AR-15 rifle, Gore said.

Gore said an off-duty Border Patrol agent believed to be inside the synagogue shot at the suspect as he fled. The sheriff said the agent didn't hit him but struck his car.

Gore said Earnest is being investigated for a possible role in a nearby mosque arson last month. Earnest did not have a history with police prior to Saturday's shooting.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said the 19-year-old suspect called police to report the shooting and a California Highway Patrol officer heard it on a police scanner, saw the suspect and pulled him over. Nisleit said the suspect got out of his car with his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident.

Witnesses told CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV the suspect showed little emotion as he was taken into custody.

A girl and two men, including the rabbi, are being treated at local hospitals. According to the trauma surgeon at Palomar Medical Center, the rabbi underwent surgery after suffering defensive wounds to his index fingers. A 34-year-old man and the girl were hit with shrapnel from bullets, authorities said.

The shooting came exactly six months since ashooting at a Pittsburgh synagoguekilled 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

President Trump, on the way to a rally in Wisconsin, said "at the moment it looks like a hate crime." He also tweeted about the off-duty Border Patrol agent who stopped the suspect.

"The Poway I know comes together," Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said at a news conference Saturday. "We always walk with our arms around each other and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other."

The Poway sheriff's department sent out a tweet saying the shooting occurred just before 11:30 a.m. Saturday. According to the Chabad of PowayFacebook page, the synagogue was holding a Passover celebration scheduled for 11 a.m.

Officials say San Diego County deputies were called just before 11:30 a.m. Four patients were admitted to Palomar Health Medical Center Hospital around 12:30 p.m., spokesman Derryl Acosta said.

A handful of police cars were parked outside the synagogue in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles north of San Diego. Crime tape surrounded the street in front of the building.

Passover began on April 19 and was ending Saturday.

In Pittsburgh, a truck driver who authorities say expressed hatred of Jews has been charged in the Oct. 27 rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue. He's pleaded not guilty.


Poway synagogue shooting: Suspect John Earnest in custody ...

California synagogue shooting: What We Know Now

Posted By on April 28, 2019

Editors, USA TODAY Published 3:12 a.m. ET April 28, 2019 | Updated 2:43 p.m. ET April 28, 2019

A gunman opened fire during Passover services at a California synagogue, leaving one dead and several injured. Wochit

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

Poway isabout 25 miles northeast of San Diego. 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 TODAYthat despite the incident we will not be broken. This is not going to break us.

Here is what we know so far.

Lori Kaye, 60, who was killed, was"very giving, kind. She was an angel," Nasseri said. "Ive known her for 25 years and I can say nothing but good things about her ... the community lost a great soul.

Injured in the melee wereRabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dahan, 8, and Almog Peretz, 34, authorities said. Goldstein on Sunday, in an interview with "Today,"described the chilling momentswhen he became "face-to-face" with the gunman.He said he put his hands up to protect himself and lost one of his fingers in the shooting.

An off-duty Border Patrol officer wasworking as a security guard at inside the templewhen 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 locationalong Interstate 15. The officer quickly spotted the suspect, who pulled over and jumped out of his vehicle with his hands up, surrendering to authorities.

Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Poway, Calif. (Photo: Denis Poroy, AP)

San Diego Sheriff William Gore said authorities were poring over John Earnest'ssocial media accounts anda letterthat 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 lettersupposedly 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 MountCarmel High school.

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

"Mydeepest sympathiesgo 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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California synagogue shooting: What We Know Now

California Synagogue Shooting Leaves 1 Killed, 3 Injured : NPR

Posted By on April 28, 2019

Mourners participate in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church on April 27, 2019 in Poway, Calif. Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

Mourners participate in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting at the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church on April 27, 2019 in Poway, Calif.

Updated at 8:32 a.m. ET Sunday

A gunman opened fire at a California synagogue Saturday morning, killing one and wounding three more people.

The incident took place at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in the San Diego suburb of Poway, Calif., and came on the final day of Passover.

Authorities say the suspect fled the synagogue and called police to say he was involved in the shooting. Following his arrest, they identified him as 19-year-old John Earnest of San Diego.

Reports say a document posted online by someone with the same name is full of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views and claims responsibility for setting a nearby mosque on fire in March.

Four people were wounded and taken to a hospital, where a woman died from her wounds, police said.

Friends and members of the congregation identified the woman who died as 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye of Poway.

"She's a huge presence here. She's just one of those people that were always here in some form or fashion," fellow congregant Tanya Wervy told Max Rivlin-Nadler in a report for NPR. Wervy said Gilbert Kaye was a generous person who will be missed.

"Witnesses said she jumped in front of the synagogue's founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, who was wounded in the index fingers on both hands," The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Police say a rabbi suffered gunshot wounds to his hands and underwent surgery, while a 34-year-old man and child were hit by bullet shrapnel. Doctors say they are doing well, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

The child was transferred to a children's hospital.

Synagogue members talk to a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday in Poway, Calif. Denis Poroy/AP hide caption

Synagogue members talk to a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday in Poway, Calif.

The suspect had an AR-style assault weapon in his vehicle when he was arrested, according to authorities. They say he had no prior arrest warrants or contact with law enforcement, and that they are reviewing social media posts and a letter attributed to the suspect.

The shooting is being investigated as a possible homicide, hate crime and federal civil rights violation. Authorities are also working with the FBI to investigate whether the suspect is linked to the mosque arson.

"This is not Poway," Mayor Steve Vaus told reporters. "We always walk with our arms around each other, and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other ... Poway will stay strong, and we will always be a community that cares for each other."

The shooting occurred six months to the day since 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Sara Bloomfield, the Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, said in a statement, "Moving forward this must serve as yet another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace. The Holocaust is a reminder of the dangers of unchecked antisemitism and the way hate can infect a society. All Americans must unequivocally condemn it and confront it in wherever it appears."

The Chabad of Poway synagogue was scheduled to host a Passover Holiday Celebration on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., according to its website. The festivities were scheduled to conclude with a holiday meal at 7 p.m.

But shortly after the scheduled start time, deputies were called to the area.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters at a rally in Green Bay, Wis. on Saturday, President Trump offered his condolences to members of the synagogue.

"Tonight, America's heart is with the victims of the horrific synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., just now," the president said. "Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated."

He also thanked law enforcement for their "courageous response."

The sheriff's department said it was not aware of any more threats to the community.

NPR's Emma Bowman contributed to this report.


California Synagogue Shooting Leaves 1 Killed, 3 Injured : NPR

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