Synagogue shooting suspect, 19, named by cops after ‘shooting woman dead and injuring three others with assault rifle on final day of Passover’

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THE suspected teen shooter behind last night’s assault rifle rampage at a US synagogue that left one woman dead and three injured has been named.

John Earnest, 19, was arrested carrying an AR15 automatic weapon minutes after a gunman wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest stormed the busy Chabad of Poway, near San Diego, California, at 11.30am local time (7.30pm BST).

Two people hug as another talks to a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy
Two people hug as another talks to a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy after the synagogue shooting yesterday
AP:Associated Press
Police cars parked outside the Poway Synagogue in the wake of a shooting
Police cars parked outside the Poway Synagogue in the wake of the horror shooting
10 News

Four people were taken to the Palomar Medical Center to receive treatment – including a young girl.

An older woman who was rushed to hospital later died.

FINAL MESSAGE

Earnest, of San Diego, is believed to be a nursing student at California State University and has no known criminal record.

There are indications in online messages that the shooter planned to live-stream the synagogue attack on Facebook – but did not succeed.

An anonymous post on 8chan – uploaded around 30 minutes before the attack – linked to an apparent “manifesto” and Earnest’s Facebook page.

It promised to host a live stream but it never occurred. Earnest’s Facebook page is now offline.

The 8chan post also included a “playlist” of songs that the shooter would play during the attack and a goodbye note.

SICK MANIFESTO

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said investigators were reviewing the suspect’s social media posts and “his open letter.”

The sick manifesto posted online was filled with anti-Jewish bile – and support for the alleged New Zealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant.

Its author also claimed to have set a nearby mosque on fire last month.

The rambling, violently anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim screed was written by an individual calling himself John Earnest.

It was found posted to the online text-storage site Pastebin.com and the file-storage site Mediafire.com.

In the letter, the author also claimed credit for the Escondido mosque arson – which was put out by congregants inside who were alerted by the smell of smoke.

A message scrawled on the driveway of the mosque mentioned the New Zealand massacre – in which 50 died last month.

HATE CRIME

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, speaking from a police command centre, described the shooting as a “hate crime”.

He said: “I want you know to you this is not Poway.

“We always walk with our arms around each other and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other.”

And President Donald Trump followed suit – insisting authorities will “get to the bottom of it”.

Speaking outside the White House, he said: “My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected.”

The shooting took place on the final day of the Passover.

And it came exactly six months since a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.

PEACEFUL SURRENDER

The gunman was injured by an off-duty Border Patrol agent who returned fire inside the synagogue.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said the shooter fled the scene in a vehicle before calling 911 to hand himself over to police.

Chief Nisleit said when an officer reached the man, “the suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody”.

As he was taken in for questioning, cops found an AR15 rifle in the front passenger seat.

Police are still investigating the suspect’s motives.

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BRAVE RABBI

In the heat of the attack, the synagogue’s Rabbi  Yisorel Goldstein tried to calm the gunman – even after he lost two fingers to a gunshot.

Describing the “chaotic” situation, Sgt Aaron Meleen said: “As you can imagine it was an extremely chaotic scene with people running everywhere when we got here.”

Minoo Anvari, a member of the synagogue, told CNN her husband who was inside the synagogue called to tell her the shooter was shouting and cursing.

COMMUNITY’S GRIEF

Describing the attack as “unbelievable”, Mrs Minoo added: “We are strong, we are united, they can’t break us.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he joined the community in grief.
He added: “No one should have to fear going to their place of worship, and no one should be targeted for practising the tenets of their faith.”

There was no known threat after the suspect was arrested.

But authorities boosted patrols at places of worship as a precaution, police said.


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.

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Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein reportedly tried to calm the shooter despite having two fingers shot off
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein reportedly tried to calm the shooter despite having two fingers shot off
Facebook
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is from Brooklyn, New York
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is from Brooklyn, New York
Facebook
Witnesses stand in front of the synagogue after the suspect fled the scene
Witnesses stand in front of the synagogue after the suspect fled the scene
AFP or licensors
Synagogue members stand outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue
Synagogue members stand outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue
AP:Associated Press
Worshippers console one another outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue
Worshippers console one another outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue
AP:Associated Press
The gunman was arrested at the scene as at least four were taken to a nearby hospital
The gunman was arrested at the scene as at least four were taken to a nearby hospital
10 News
Police scrambled to the Chabad of Poway at around 7.30pm GMT on Saturday
Police scrambled to the Chabad of Poway at around 7.30pm BST on Saturday
Google maps
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore speaks at a news conference held outside of the Chabad of Poway
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore speaks at a news conference held outside of the Chabad of Poway
AP:Associated Press

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