For weeks, John T. Earnest allegedly planned his attack on the Poway synagogue, inspired by the horrific acts that preceded him — mass shootings at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and at two mosques in New Zealand.
On April 27, the last day of Passover, police said the 19-year-old stepped into the Chabad of Poway armed with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire.
Authorities say Earnest is suspected of killing one person and injuring three others in the synagogue, which was founded in 1986 in the suburban community about 20 miles north of San Diego.
The shooting came during one of the most sacred holidays in the Jewish faith. The eight-day festival of Passover commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt and is typically observed with a number of rituals, including Seder meals and the sharing of the Exodus story.
Earnest appears to have left behind a nine-page manifesto filled with racist rants and details of his personal life. The Rancho Peñasquitos resident wrote that he is a nursing student from the “depths” of California.
In the document, titled “an open letter,” Earnest said he was inspired by Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white nationalist who killed 50 people in attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15. It was the worst mass shooting in the country’s modern history.
That shooting, Earnest wrote, led to his decision four weeks ago to attack the Chabad.
“How long did it take you to plan the attack? Four weeks. Four weeks ago, I decided I was doing this. Four weeks later, I did it,” he wrote.
His anti-Semitic letter revealed his “disgust” for Jews and a desire to kill them. The writer, who is white, said he was willing to sacrifice his future “for the sake of my people.”
The suspect also championed Robert Bowers — who killed 11 people and wounded six more in the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh six months ago — as well as Adolf Hitler.
The writer identifies himself as a man of European descent. He does not claim any political labels, but asserts that Jews seek to “doom” the white race.
Source: LA Times