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Synagogue Shooter Named, Also Under Investigation For Unsolved Mosque Arson

The suspect in the shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California is a 19-year-old white man named John Earnest, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore confirmed Saturday.

Gore also confirmed that an “open letter” was being investigated. A manifesto published in his name was published on Saturday morning on 8chan, an online message board popular with the far-right, NBC reported. The writer of the manifesto took credit for the unsolved arson of a mosque last month in Escondido, nine miles from Poway. Earnest is now being investigated in relation to that incident, Gore said.

The Escondido arsonist reportedly left a note at the scene praising Brenton Tarrant, who killed 50 worshippers at New Zealand mosques last month. The Poway manifesto also praises Tarrant and shares many characteristics of tone and format as the New Zealand shooter’s own writing. The Poway document also praised Robert Bowers, the alleged gunman in last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Eleven people were killed in that attack, which took place six months to the day before the Poway shooting.

One person was killed and three more injured at the shooting Saturday at Congregation Chabad in Poway.

The manifesto, which also claims Earnest was a nursing student, is filled with anti-Semitic invective and cites Christian bible verses to justify his actions.

Gore said that Earnest had no prior contact with law enforcement before the attack.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor for the Forward. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink


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