Police identify shooter in California synagogue attack

Police in San Diego County said Saturday that they identified the 19-year-old suspect thought to be behind a shooting at a synagogue that killed one person and wounded three others.

San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said that the suspect had been identified as John Earnest, a San Diego resident with no prior interactions with law enforcement.


"Bill Gore confirms the name of the shooting suspect as 19-year-old John Earnest (DOB 6/8/99). We didn't find any prior law enforcement contact with Earnest. We're looking into digital evidence and checking the authenticity of an online manifesto," the sheriff's office tweeted.

Gore's office added that Earnest was also under investigation for an act of arson and vandalism at a nearby mosque, which a social media manifesto purported to be authored by the suspect indicated was also a target.

USA Today reported that the incident last month at a mosque in Escondido, California involved a man seen on surveillance video pouring gasoline on a door to the building and setting it on fire before fleeing the scene. The blaze was quickly extinguished by worshipers, and the FBI had offered a reward for information on the perpetrator.

"@SDSheriff Gore: We are serving search warrants for the suspect's home, car and the Chabad of Poway. We are also working with @FBISanDiego, @ATFHQ & @EscondidoPolice to check John Earnest's possible involvement in the arson and vandalism of mosque in @Escondido_CA," the sheriff's office tweeted.

Police said Saturday night that three people were being treated for injuries at a nearby hospital, including the synagogue's rabbi who was shot in the hand during the attack.

The sheriff's office said Earnest shot four people Saturday at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, killing one person before reportedly fleeing the scene and being apprehended by police a short distance down the road.

Authorities said that they did not believe Earnest acted with accomplices. Saturday's shooting occurred on the last day of Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrating the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery.