SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – A 19-year-old man accused of killing one worshipper and wounding three others in a taking pictures spree in a California synagogue appeared in courtroom on Tuesday to face homicide and attempted-murder prices in an assault prosecutors are treating as a hate crime.
John Earnest, arrested shortly after Saturday’s bloodshed on the Chabad of Poway synagogue north of San Diego, has additionally been charged with one depend of arson on a home of worship stemming from a close-by mosque that was set on hearth in March.
Showing for a short continuing in San Diego County Superior Court docket on Tuesday afternoon, Earnest wore dark-rimmed glasses, his hair combed straight ahead, with a straight-faced expression.
Authorities mentioned Earnest walked into the Poway synagogue throughout Sabbath prayers on the final day of the weeklong Jewish Passover vacation and opened hearth with an assault-style rifle, killing 60-year-old congregant Lori Gilbert-Kaye.
Three others have been wounded within the assault, together with the rabbi, who was shot within the palms and misplaced an index finger.
The gunman was chased out of the temple by a former Military sergeant who was within the congregation, then sped away in a automotive, escaping an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot on the getaway automobile however missed the suspect. Earnest pulled over and surrendered to police quickly afterward.
Investigators later mentioned Earnest appeared to have written a rambling, violently anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim “manifesto” discovered posted on the web.
In it, the writer claimed accountability for a predawn arson hearth on March 24 that broken the Islamic Middle of Escondido, a city about 15 miles (24 km) north of Poway, and professed to have drawn his inspiration from the gunman who killed 50 individuals at two mosques earlier that month in New Zealand.
Saturday’s bloodshed close to San Diego got here six months to the day after 11 worshippers have been fatally shot at a Pittsburgh synagogue in a bloodbath that ranks because the deadliest ever on American Jewry. The accused gunman in that assault additionally was arrested.
Authorities mentioned Earnest had no prior legal document.
Along with the cost of committing arson at a spot of worship, he’s now charged with one depend of homicide and three counts of tried homicide in reference to the synagogue taking pictures. The legal criticism, filed on Monday, additionally alleges that the synagogue taking pictures was perpetrated as a hate crime.
If convicted, he would face life in jail with out parole or the loss of life penalty, the district legal professional’s workplace mentioned.
Reporting by Jennifer McEntee in San Diego; further reporting by Wealthy McKay in Atlanta and Peter Szekely in New York; Writing by Steve Gorman; enhancing by Andrew Heavens, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis