Breaking News

Synagogue shooting: 19-year-old man charged with murder in death of 1, wounding of 3

POWAY, Calif. — A 19-year-old man has been charged in connection with a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, where Jewish worshipers had gathered Saturday to celebrate the last day of Passover.

Authorities confirmed the suspect, identified as John Earnest, turned himself in shortly after the attack, which left one woman dead and three other congregants wounded.

>> Read more trending news


Update 5 p.m. EDT April 30: Prosecutors said the 19-year-old man suspected of opening fire in a Southern California synagogue had a tactical vest, helmet and 50 unfired bullets when arrested.

John T. Earneste is charged killing Lori Kaye, who was shot twice with a semi-automatic rifle.

John T. Earnest, left, appears for his arraignment hearing Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in San Diego. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool)

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said Earnest then shot the congregation’s rabbi, who lost a finger. The shooter then turned toward a room of children and other adults.

Stephan said Earnest fired eight to 10 rounds before the gun either jammed or he wasn’t able to release the magazine to reload.

Earnest pleaded not guilty at his first court hearing Tuesday.

Update 7:15 p.m. EDT April 29: The woman killed in an attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue Saturday has been laid to rest.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, who was shot and killed at the synagogue, was remembered Monday as devoted to her family and friends in a service at Chabad followed by a burial at El Camino Memorial Park, The Los Angeles Times reported.

She is survived by her husband, Howard, and daughter, Hannah.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein praised Gilbert-Kaye and credited her with saving his life.

“We will salute Lori and her life and keep her legacy alive,” Goldstein said.

He also said she leaves behind, “A legacy of goodness and kindness.”

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 19: The family of the accused shooter have released a statement, saying, "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue," KNSD reported.

They went on to say, "He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day."

They placed the blame on people influenced their son, saying, "Our son's actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold."

The FBI announced that it had received warnings prior to the attack. The warnings came in via the FBI's website and phone number five minutes before the shooting, The Associated Press reported. The tip did not have specifics of the location of the attack, and FBI employees tried to find out who wrote the anonymous social media post it was provided, but the shooting happened before the identity could be confirmed, according to AP.

Update 11:05 p.m. EDT April 28: Hundreds of people gathered for two vigils Sunday evening to honor the shooting victims of Chabad of Poway synagogue.

An interdenominational group congregated at the Rancho Bernardo Community Church Sunday evening to sing and pray. Other community members attended a vigil at Valle Verde Park.

People in Pittsburgh also gathered for a vigil Sunday evening to honor the victims of the Poway synagogue shooting, six months after a gunman shot up the city’s Tree of Life synagogue, killing 11 worshippers.

Update 6:55 pm EDT April 28: The suspect in the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, identified as John Earnest, has been charged with one count of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Investigators believe Earnest acted alone in his alleged attack on Chabad of Poway.

“There is no indication at this point in the investigation that Earnest was part of an organized group,” Sheriff William Gore said in a press release.

“We believe he acted alone and without outside support in carrying out the attack,” Gore said.

Update 3:03 p.m. EDT April 28: CNN reported that the three victims injured in the shooting have all been released from Palomar Health in San Diego County, according to a hospital spokesperson

Update 6:03 a.m. EDT April 28: A Jewish leader in San Diego County has identified the woman killed Saturday in a synagogue shooting.

According to The Associated Press, Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway, California, was killed when a gunman opened fire at Chabad of Poway, said Chabad of San Diego County's executive director,  Rabbi Yonah Fradkin.

Three others were hurt, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 34-year-old Almog Peretz and 8-year-old Noya Dahan, Fradkin said.

>> Read more trending news

CNN reported that Kaye was shot after she jumped between the shooter and Goldstein, whose index fingers were injured in the attack.

"In the face of senseless hate, we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country," Fradkin said, according to the AP. "We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate. We are deeply shaken by the loss of a true woman of valor, Lori Kaye, who lost her life solely for living as a Jew."

Peretz suffered a gunshot wound to the leg as he led a group of children to safety, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Meanwhile, Dahan was hurt when shrapnel struck her face and leg, witnesses told the newspaper.

Police identified the suspected shooter as John T. Earnest, 19, of Rancho Penasquitos. The Union-Tribune reported that he appears to have written an anti-Semitic manifesto and claimed to have tried to burn down an Escondido mosque in March.

Earnest was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Update 8:30 p.m. EDT April 27: Authorities told reporters Saturday that the suspect in the shooting is John Earnest. He is also being investigated in a fire at a mosque in a nearby city last month.

San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said that the 19-year-old had no prior arrests. He’s accused of killing a woman and wounding three others at Chabad of Poway on the last day of Passover.

Update 7:15 p.m. EDT April 27: President Donald Trump has offered "deepest sympathies to the families of those affected" by a shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego.

At the White House, Trump said Saturday that the shooting “looked like a hate crime” and called it “hard to believe.” He spoke from the South Lawn before flying to a rally in Wisconsin.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Gov. Gavin Newsom offered their condolences to the Jewish community after a man opened fire Saturday at a synagogue outside San Diego.

Newsom said “no one should have to fear going to their place of worship.”

Pelosi said on Twitter that she stands with the Jewish community against “this act of hate.”

San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said at a news conference that he had no details on motive.

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT April 27: Law enforcement officials said in a press conference that one woman has died from wounds in the shooting.

A 19-year-old San Diego man is in custody.

Update 4:30 p.m. EDT April 27: According to The Associated Press, the hospital said it is treating four people injured in a synagogue shooting near San Diego but their conditions are unclear.

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT April 27: 10News San Diego reported that at least four victims have been transported to a hospital.

Original story: San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said officers were responding to a shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway. The shooting occurred just before 11:30 a.m. and caused "multiple injuries," he said.

Officers have detained a man for questioning in connection with the shooting, Gore said.

The shooting came on the last day of Passover and exactly six months since a shooting at the Pittsburgh the Tree of Life Synagogue, which killed 11 people.

Poway is a little over 20 miles north of San Diego.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.