Skip To Content
Fast Forward

FBI Received Tips On Poway Synagogue Shooter Minutes Before Attack

The F.B.I. received tips about the Poway synagogue shooting minutes before it occurred but was too late to react before the attack began, BuzzFeed News reported Monday.

A user named Colin said that he saw the shooter’s manifesto on 8chan, an online message board popular with white nationalists, at around 11:05 a.m. Pacific time. “I can’t remember why, but the picture and the first line of the preview caught my attention,” Colin told BuzzFeed. “And I thought, is this like New Zealand?”

He was especially struck by the fact that the manifesto also took credit for the unsolved arson of a mosque last month in nearby Escondido. So he called the F.B.I. at 11:15. He said they took him “really seriously.”

“The FBI was great. When I got her on the line, it’s not like talking to a 911 dispatcher,” he said. “She was familiar with 4chan and 8chan … and when I told her about the Escondido thing, she opened up the letter. It was all in like four and a half or five minutes.”

But by 11:30, the attacker had already begun his shooting spree at the Chabad of Poway. The F.B.I. largely confirmed Colin’s account.

“Approximately five minutes before the shooting at Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California, the FBI received submissions through its online tip website and tip phone number regarding an anonymous threatening post on a social media site,” an official told BuzzFeed. “The submissions included a link to the post, but did not offer specific information about the post’s author or threat location. Although FBI employees immediately took action to determine the post’s author, the shooting occurred before the suspect could be fully identified. The FBI thanks the alert citizens who saw and reported the post.”

The shooter, a 19-year-old white male, is being charged with murder. One person was killed and three others were injured in the shooting.

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

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we still need 300 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Only 300 more gifts needed by April 30

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.