(September 20, 2019 / JNS) During a preliminary hearing on Thursday, prosecutors played a 12-minute recording of John Earnest casually telling a 911 operator that he had been shooting people inside Chabad of Poway in Southern California to defend “our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people.”
Earnest, 20, “sat stone-faced with his arms folded on his lap during hours of testimony at a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a judge to order him to stand trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and arson,” reported the Associated Press.
In the call, Earnest rebuked law enforcement for “taking a long-ass time” to arrive on the scene.
The recording was played publicly for the first time in a hearing that also included showing surveillance footage of the shooting.
Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old U.S. military veteran and Chabad of Poway congregant, spoke publicly for the first time about challenging Earnest as the suspect fired shots.
“People were falling over each other. It was chaos,” he said. “I screamed, ‘Get down! Get out here.’ ”
“He was firing in front of me,” said Stewart, who served in Iraq in 2003. “I was paying attention to the rifle.”
An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Jonathan Morales, fired five shots as Earnest fled the synagogue building, hitting his car as he frantically drove away.
“San Diego police Officer Jonathan Wiese testified that he sped north on Interstate 15 at about 130 mph as reports of a shooting in suburban Poway came in over his radio. It took him just under 10 minutes to find Earnest alone,” reported the Associated Press.
Earnest exited his car and was handcuffed without incident.
“His first statement was, ‘How’s your day going?’ ” recalled Wiese, who cursed to suggest it was awful.
Earnest asked him if he knew “what the Jews have done to our race,” recalled Wiese, who is white.
Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh is scheduled to rule on Friday if Earnest should stand trial.
If convicted of the murder charge, Earnest could face the death penalty, though prosecutors haven’t said what sentence they would seek.
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