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Accused California synagogue shooter charged with federal hate crimes

Accused California synagogue shooter charged with federal hate crimes

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(Reuters) – A California nursing scholar accused of a lethal capturing spree in a San Diego-area synagogue and arson at a close-by mosque was charged on Thursday with 109 counts of federal hate crimes and civil rights violations, prosecutors mentioned.

FILE PHOTO – John Earnest, accused within the deadly capturing on the Chabad of Poway synagogue, stands in court docket close to public defender John O’Connell (L) and a San Diego County Bailiff throughout an arraignment listening to in San Diego, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. Nelvin C. Cepeda/Pool by way of REUTERS

John Earnest, 19, was already charged in state court docket with one rely of homicide and three counts of tried homicide within the April 27 assault on the Chabad of Poway synagogue, which left one worshipper useless and three others wounded, together with a rabbi.

Within the federal criticism, Earnest faces one rely for every of the folks within the synagogue on the time of the capturing, together with 12 kids, U.S. Legal professional Robert Brewer mentioned.

“The criticism alleges the defendant violently focused members of the synagogue and mosque for no different cause than his hatred of the Jewish folks and people of the Muslim religion,” Brewer mentioned at a information convention.

Earnest pleaded not responsible to the state expenses, and to at least one rely of arson on a home of worship stemming from a pre-dawn hearth that broken the Islamic Middle of Escondido on March 24. Nobody was injured within the blaze.

Earnest, who was enrolled on the California State College at San Marcos, was arrested shortly after the synagogue capturing north of San Diego. Authorities linked him to the arson by way of a web based manifesto during which they are saying he claimed accountability for setting hearth to the mosque.

The creator of the violently anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim screed additionally professed to have drawn inspiration from the gunman who killed 50 folks at two mosques in New Zealand earlier in March.

The state expenses allege that the synagogue capturing was perpetrated as a hate crime. If convicted of these expenses, Earnest would face life in jail with out parole, or the dying penalty.

Within the separate federal legal criticism filed on Thursday in U.S. District Courtroom in San Diego, Earnest was charged with 54 counts of obstruction of free train of spiritual beliefs leading to dying and bodily damage, plus 54 counts of violating federal hate-crime statutes, Brewer mentioned.

Earnest additionally was charged with inflicting harm to non secular property involving use of a harmful weapon or hearth.

Authorities mentioned Earnest stalked into the Poway synagogue throughout Sabbath prayers on the final day of the week-long Jewish Passover vacation and opened hearth, killing Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60. The rabbi, one in all three others wounded within the assault, was shot within the hand and misplaced an index finger.

The gunman’s weapon apparently jammed and he was chased from the temple by a former Military sergeant within the congregation, then sped away in a automotive as an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent shot on the getaway car. Earnest pulled over and surrendered to police quickly afterward.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Modifying by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler

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