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Poway Synagogue Shooter To Be Charged With Federal Hate Crime: Sources

The man who killed one woman and injured three people at a synagogue in Poway, California, will face federal hate crime charges, a source told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

While the information came from a source close to the investigation, prosecutors said that a conference to announce “civil rights violations and hate crimes” in the case would be held Thursday morning.

The charges, including charges of murder and attempted murder, could make the shooter, a 19-year-old, eligible for the death penalty.

The shooter, John Earnest, faces both state and federal charges, and may be tried concurrently for both — an unusual, but not unheard of, occurrence in serious cases, the Union-Tribune reported. The shooter who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 is also facing both state and federal charges.

Earnest has also been charged in connection with an arson fire at a mosque in a nearby town.

Earnest’s family has said it will not pay for a defense attorney.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman




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