(April 29, 2019 / JNS) John Earnest, the suspect behind killing a woman and injuring three others during Saturday-morning services at the Chabad of Poway in Southern California, has been charged with a count of first-degree murder and three counts attempted murder, announced the San Diego Sheriff’s Department on Sunday.
“There is no indication at this point in the investigation that Earnest was part of an organized group,” said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore in a press release.
“We believe he acted alone and without outside support in carrying out the attack,” said Gore.
Update #11 This is the second news release about a deadly #synagogueshooting during Passover services at Chabad of Poway.
All road closures have been lifted.
There are no media briefings planned for today. pic.twitter.com/pO47ZAvYHz
— San Diego Sheriff (@SDSheriff) April 28, 2019
The press release mentioned that the San Diego Sheriff’s department has been interviewing about 100 people who were victims of and witnesses to the shooting at the synagogue, which is located about a half-hour outside the city.
Earnest, a nursing student who had no prior criminal record and wrote in a manifesto that he “would die a thousand times over to prevent the doomed fate that the Jews have planned for my race,” is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
Gore said Earnest could be charged with a hate crime.
After killing congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and injuring three others, including the synagogue’s rabbi, 57-year-old Yisroel Goldstein, Earnest fled the scene. His car was struck multiple times by an off-duty Border Patrol agent, Jonathan Morales, who was at the synagogue and fired at the shooter. Earnest was soon apprehended without incident after he called 911 to admit to committing the crime, in addition to providing his location.
The other two injured were Noya Dahan, 8, and her 34-year-old uncle, Almog Peretz.
Goldstein received a phone call Sunday from U.S. President Donald Trump.
“He was so comforting,” the rabbi, who lost his right index finger, told the media on Sunday afternoon in front of the synagogue building.
The rabbi said the call was 10 to 15 minutes long.
“I spoke at length yesterday to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway, where I extended my warmest condolences to him and all affected by the shooting in California. What a great guy. He had a least one finger blown off, and all he wanted to do is help others. Very special,” tweeted Trump.
I spoke at length yesterday to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway, where I extended my warmest condolences to him and all affected by the shooting in California. What a great guy. He had a least one finger blown off, and all he wanted to do is help others. Very special!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2019
Kaye, known as a pillar in the Southern California Jewish community, will be laid to rest on Monday. She jumped in front of Goldstein during the shooting, saving his life.
“Lori, you were a jewel of our community a true Eshet Chayil, a Woman of Valor,” said friend Audrey Jacobs on her Facebook page on Saturday, reported CNN. “You were always running to do a mitzvah and gave tzedakah to everyone.”