Police in California have detained a man in relation to a shooting at a San Diego synagogue that left one dead and several others injured.
John T. Earnest, 19, was identified as the suspect by law enforcement sources. An unconfirmed manifesto posted online shortly before the attack and purporting to be from Earnest cites hatred of Jewish people as the motive for the attack, and takes credit for a separate arson attack on an Escondido mosque last month.
The shooting attack took place at the Chabad of Poway Jewish congregation around 11.30am PT on Saturday, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said.
Four victims were transported to the Palomar Medical Center to be treated for gunshot wounds. One of them, an older woman, later died from her injuries.
Police say the suspect is a resident of San Diego who was armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.
An armed off-duty Border Patrol agent who was inside the synagogue returned fire and injured the suspect, who then retreated in a vehicle before surrendering to police without incident, according to police.
Synagogue members console one another outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday on Saturday in Poway, Calif. Several people were injured and one was killed in a shooting at the synagogue
Synagogue members walk outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday in Poway, California
Local authorities are reporting that Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is one of injured shooting victims at Chabad of Poway in Poway, California on Saturday. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is originally from Brooklyn, New York
An FBI agent gives out information to members of the media outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue on Saturday
In the 4,000-word manifesto posted before the shooting, the author described himself as a 19-year-old nursing student and native of California.
‘If you told me even 6 months ago that I would do this I would have been surprised,’ the author wrote, adding that he was inspired by the attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand last month and the suspect in that case, Brenton Tarrant.
‘Tarrant was a catalyst for me personally,’ the manifesto reads. The author also states that he committed an unsolved arson attack against the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido on March 24, adding that he spray-painted the message ‘For Brenton Tarrant’ in the parking lot of the mosque.
The author of the manifesto says that he does not support President Donald Trump, calling the president ‘Jew-loving’ and ‘anti-White’. Much of the manifesto consists of grievances against Jewish people.
Saturday’s shooting unfolded during services on the last day of Passover, and there are believed to have been about 100 people inside the synagogue at the time of the attack.
Witnesses say the gunman was wearing a tactical vest and a helmet according to CBS 8. The reports have not yet been confirmed by police.
One of the victims is said to be the synagogue’s Rabbi, Yisorel Goldstein, who founded the Chabad center in 1986. He was reportedly shot and lost two fingers.
Witnesses say the rabbi tried to calm the gunman and members of the congregation even after he was wounded.
President Donald Trump responded to the shooting in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he departed for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
‘Based on my last conversations, it looks like a hate crime. Hard to believe,’ Trump said. ‘My deepest sympathies go to the families who were affected.’
‘It looks like the person has been apprehended, no more danger, and law enforcement has done a fantastic job,’ he continued.
President Donald Trump responded to the shooting in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he departed for a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, center, speaks at a news conference held outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue Saturday in Poway, California. Several people were injured and one died in a shooting at the synagogue
Multiple people were sighted on the ground inside the house of worship, located at 16934 Chabad Way.
Major Vaus told CNN that members of the congregation attempted to overpower the gunman.
‘This shooter was engaged by people in the congregation and those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,’ Major Vaus stated, adding that the shooter had ‘hate’ in his heart.
The suspect attempted to flee the scene in a car before being apprehended by authorities a short distance down the road.
Police declined to share information about the suspect’s identity in a Saturday afternoon press conference, but he does live in San Diego.
‘There are injuries. This is a developing situation,’ the department’s Poway Station said on Twitter.
Two young girls are also reportedly missing in the wake of the shooting.
Two people hug as another talks to a San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy outside of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue. There have been four confirmed victims of the shooting, with one left dead
So far four victims have been transported to the Palomar Medical Center to be treated for their injuries
The incident took place at the Chabad of Poway house of worship in San Diego, sometime after 11.30am local time
The shooting comes on the last day of Passover. According to the synagogue’s website, the congregation were hosting a Passover Holiday Celebration that began at 11am and was scheduled to last all day
The department had earlier said deputies were investigating reports of a man with a gun in the area of the Congregation Chabad synagogue.
Sheriffs have confirmed that at least one person has been shot. Authorities say they’re ‘confident’ there was one gunman involved.
The shooting comes on the last day of Passover. According to the synagogue’s website, the congregation were hosting a Passover Holiday Celebration that began at 11 am and was set to end at 7pm with a final Passover meal.
‘It’s a very important celebration for us. There’s lots of people inside, they’re praying,’ Minoo Anvari a member of the congregation told NBC 7. ‘Everybody was crying and screaming.’
Anvari said her husband was inside during the shooting and said someone came in, started cursing and then opened fire.
Officers from the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s office have been deployed to other churches
The San Diego Sheriff’s Office confirmed the shooting in a tweet early Saturday afternoon, local time
It’s believed the man fired between 12 and 14 shots inside the center.
Witnesses say that even after being shot, Rabbi Goldstein called for unity and prayer among the congregation.
‘Rabbi said, ‘We are united,” said Anvari, a refugee from Iran.
‘This is something bad (that) is happening all over. And we have to believe that this bad thing is real and we don’t have to ignore it. We have to open our eyes. He prayed for peace. I respect him — even in spite of being injured he refused to go to hospital and he spoke. And he finished his speech and he then left the synagogue.’
The suspect behind the shooting is said to live with his parents. Police are currently preparing to raid his home, reports say.
Officers from the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s office have been deployed to other churches as a precaution, Fox 5 reported.
‘No known threats however in an abundance of caution, we will be providing extra patrol at places of worship,’ San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said.
The shooting comes exactly six months after a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.