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Family Of Poway Synagogue Shooting Suspect ‘Shocked And Deeply Saddened’

The family of the gunman allegedly behind the fatal shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California released a statement on Monday expressing their “great shame” in his actions.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue,” the statement read. “But our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people. He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day. To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”

“Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold. Like our other five children, he was raised in a family, a faith, and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do. How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act. To that end, our family is cooperating with investigators. We ask only that the media and the public respect our privacy and allow the criminal justice system to work.”

The family concluded by expressing condolences to victims and survivors and their gratitude to first responders.

The suspect, 19-year-old John Earnest, has been charged with murder for the shooting, which killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injured three more, including a rabbi and an eight-year-old girl.

Earnest, a nursing student who reportedly lives with his parents, allegedly released a manifesto filled with anti-Semitic statements and praise for the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, which took place six months to the day before the attack in Poway. The manifesto also took credit for an unsolved mosque arson last month in nearby Escondido, for which Earnest is now being investigated.

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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