Synagogue Shooter Also Under Investigation For Attempted Mosque Arson

After bragging in his alleged manifesto about attempting to burn down a mosque in Escondido, Calif. late last month, San Diego sheriff Bill Gore confirmed late Saturday evening that 19-year-old John Earnest, the suspect in a shooting at a Poway, Calif. synagogue, is also under investigation for attempted arson at a nearby mosque.

As we reported yesterday, there was an early morning arson at a nearby Mosque in Escondido, California on March 24 which remains unsolved. While several people were sleeping inside, one person who was awake spotted the flames and managed to put out the fire. In his manifesto, Earnest claimed inspiration from Brenton Tarrant, the man who killed nearly 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gore said that Earnest is not known to have any previous criminal record. The sheriff added that apart from going through the trail of digital evidence left by the attacker, police will also search his car and residence. The mosque was defaced with spray-painted graffiti making reference to the New Zealand attack.

Mosque

Members of the community at the Escondido mosque talk about the arson.

As for Earnest's purported manifesto, Gore acknowledged that police have been combing through the suspect's social media posts and an "open letter" he allegedly wrote in the run-up to the attack, but said that officers have yet to prove the authenticity of the purported evidence.

Saturday’s attack on the Congregation Chabad temple in Poway, a suburb of San Diego about 23 miles north of downtown, occurred exactly six months to the day after 11 worshippers were killed, and six others wounded, by a gunman who stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh yelling "All Jews must die." Saturday's attack left one dead and three injured after the shooter was forced to flee by an off-duty border-patrol agent who fired back.

Lori Kaye, the congregant who was killed during the attack, reportedly jumped between the shooter and the rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, after he suffered a defensive wound to his right hand. Kaye had reportedly attended the ceremony to say a Kaddish prayer for her mother, who had died in November, per CNN.

Kaye, 60, was shot at the synagogue and died at a nearby hospital.

The assailant in that massacre, said to be the deadliest attack ever against Jews on American soil, was also arrested. San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officials issued a statement saying Earnest was believed to have acted alone and that there "are no known threats to religious gatherings."

Meanwhile, President Trump has condemned the attacks, after the shooter's alleged manifesto included a Q&A where he allegedly denounced Trump as a "Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-white, traitorous cocksucker".

An outpouring of condemnation has been directed at the New York Times and Rep. Ilhan Omar, the former of which published a cartoon just a day before Saturday's attack that was widely denounced as anti-semitic.