Last night, as worshipers at the Chabad of Poway synagogue were celebrating the final night of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 19-year-old John T. Earnest entered the facility and tried to kill as many people as possible.
He did kill one woman who tried to protect the Rabbi, but thanks to the quick actions of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent and others, his evil plan was halted before more lives were taken.
NBC San Diego reported:
“We didn’t hear him screaming or saying anything. He was just focused to kill. You saw the hate and the murder in his eyes,” Danny Almong, a witness, told NBC 7. “He had a vest and he had clips in the vest. He was ready. He was ready. He came in to kill.”
As the suspect fled the scene, an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent who was in the synagogue at the time of the shooting opened fire on the suspect, missing the man but striking his vehicle, Gore said.
Near the freeway, a San Diego police officer was en route to the scene while monitoring the sheriff’s dispatch when he saw the suspect vehicle.
The suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was taken into custody, SDPD Chief David Nisleit said.
“As the officer was placing this 19-year-old male into custody, he clearly saw a rifle sitting on the front passenger seat of the suspect vehicle,” Nisleit added.
More than half a dozen police cars were seen along Rancho Bernardo Road outside Phil’s BBQ — roughly two miles away from the temple — where the suspect was apprehended.
Officials have not released a possible motive for the shooting.
They are preparing search warrants for the Earnst residence, his vehicle and for the synagogue in Poway. They are also collecting digital evidence and are aware of his manifesto, Gore said.
A 60-year-old woman died from injuries suffered in the shooting. A girl and two adult men, including a rabbi, were injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, officials confirmed.
The 57-year-old rabbi suffered injuries to index fingers, which trauma surgeon Michael Katz, M.D. said was “the largest injury” of the three surviving victims.
The rabbi was taken into surgery, where he “most likely” will lose his right index finger but may keep his left index finger.
The 34-year-old man and the girl sustained shrapnel injuries. Katz said the three should “make good recoveries.”
“I want you to know, this is not Poway,” said Mayor Steve Vaus who described the shooting as a hate crime during interviews with cable news channels. “We always walk with our arms around each other.”
“We are grateful to those in the congregation there that engaged the shooter and prevented this from being a much more horrific incident,” Vaus told MSNBC.
The Family Assistance Center will be at Poway High School 15500 Espola Road to help relatives looking for loved ones from the synagogue.
President Donald Trump sent condolences.
“My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected, the families, their loved ones, by the obviously looks right now based on my last conversations, looks like a hate crime, hard to believe,” President Trump said from the south lawn of the White House. “We’re doing some very heavy research we’ll see what happens, what comes up, at this moment it looks like a hate crime, but my deepest sympathies to all of those affected and we’ll get to the bottom of it.”
As of Sunday night three of the four victims have been identified by multiple sources.
The victims are 57-year-old Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 34-year-old Almog Peretz, and the victim who died was 60-year-old, Lori Kaye.
The president appears to be correct.
The manifesto of the shooter was discovered and shows his unbalanced mental state.
We have come across what appears to be a manifesto for the Poway synagogue shooter. He identifies as an anon from 8chan’s /pol/ board. He claims he was inspired by the Christchurch shooting. His manifesto is filled with shitposting and should not be taken literally. https://t.co/a3QlN8dsDy
— ~Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) April 27, 2019
According to reports the manifesto was posted on Pastebin on Saturday.
In the writings Earnest explains his hatred of the president, who he called ‘Jew-loving,’ conservatives, and Muslims.