Police have detained a 19-year-old suspect shortly after responding to reports of a shooting near a San Diego synagogue on Saturday afternoon. One person has died and at least three others were injured.
Be aware of increased law enforcement activity in the 16000 block of Chabad Way as @SDSOPoway Deputies investigate reports of a man with a gun. Please stay clear of the area and allow deputies to safely do their job. Thank you for your patience and cooperation. pic.twitter.com/wuHYb57BW0
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) April 27, 2019
The man, identified by police as John Earnest, was detained near the synagogue Chabad of Poway and St. John of Damascus Orthodox Church.
At a press conference, officials said an older female died but that the three other victims, including one young girl, are in stable condition.
After shooting inside the temple with an AR-type assault weapon, the suspect was spotted by a Border Patrol agent who opened fire on the teen but missed, officials said. The suspect later turned himself over to police.
The synagogue was hosting its Passover holiday celebration, which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., just a half hour before the shooting incident. 10News reported. The celebration was set to end at 7 p.m. with a final Passover meal.
Earnest posted an 8-page manifesto online prior to the attack. In it, the suspect gloats about being from “European ancestry” and expresses his hatred of Jewish people. He says he feels “no remorse” for his upcoming actions that would leave one person dead, and that he took inspiration from the New Zealand mosque shooter that left more than 50 dead in March. Earnest also appeared to be a frequent user of racist gutter forum 8chan, and mentioned his desire for “the day of the rope,” a far-right term about a desire to kill journalists.
Earnest also took credit for an arson at a mosque in Escondido. Police at the time said the arsonist wrote graffiti on the mosque praising the New Zealand shooter.
Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), whose district covers part of San Diego County, said in a tweet more must be done to combat extremism and gun violence.
I am closely monitoring the situation at Congregation Chabad in Poway. Thank you to all of the first responders on the scene and law enforcement who detained a suspect. We must do more to address the hate behind this attack and end the epidemic of gun violence in this country.
— Rep. Mike Levin (@RepMikeLevin) April 27, 2019
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also condemned the shooting in statements posted to Twitter.
“No one should be in fear in a house of worship. Antisemitism isn’t just wrong ― it’s evil,” Pence wrote.
Thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the shooting at the Synagogue in Poway, California. God bless you all. Suspect apprehended. Law enforcement did outstanding job. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2019
We condemn in the strongest terms the evil & cowardly shooting at Chabad of Poway today as Jewish families celebrated Passover. No one should be in fear in a house of worship. Antisemitism isn’t just wrong – it’s evil. https://t.co/hkLOCf0anp
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 27, 2019
Speaking outside the White House, Trump told reporters, “At this moment it looks like a hate crime. Hard to believe.”
Saturday also marked the six-month anniversary of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which a white supremacist killed 11 people.
Carla Russo contributed reporting.