23:22 GMT31 October 2020
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    One person was killed and three more injured after a man opened fire at a San Diego synagogue on Saturday. The suspected gunman has already been identified and detained.

    San Diego police have detained 19-year-old John Earnest in connection with a shooting at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway that killed one person and injured several others on Saturday.

    Earnest, who was a student at California State University San Marcos per school officials, is now being questioned by the FBI and homicide authorities.

    "We are dismayed and disheartened that the alleged shooter – now in custody – is a CSUSM student. CSUSM is working collaboratively with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to assist and gain more information", Karen Haynes, president of California State San Marcos, wrote in a letter to the campus community.

    Earnest is said to be a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, who graduated from Mt Carmel High School in 2017 and was honoured for his academic achievements.

    Alleged Anti-Semitic Manifesto

    While no official motive for the attack has been announced yet, police are currently checking the authenticity of an online manifesto published on Pastebin just hours before the shooting took place, allegedly detailing the gunman’s reasons for targeting synagogue-goers.

    The author of the manifesto, who reportedly identified himself as a 19-year-old nursing student with the same name as the detained suspect, claims to have been motivated by the Christchurch mosque carnage in March and Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting last year, which was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.

    The document is said to be littered with anti-Semitic language and mirrors the tone of the manifesto published on the same website by the suspected shooter arrested after the massacre inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    The manifesto, which is also alleged to be rife with biblical verses and religious imagery, reportedly blames "international Jewry" for crimes, including the murder of Jesus Christ and alleged control over the media and the economy.

    “Every Jew young and old has contributed to these. For these crimes they deserve nothing but hell. I will send them there”, the alleged text read.

    In the manifesto, the suspect ostensibly wrote that he hoped to inspire others to commit similar crimes and expected to be released from prison to “continue the fight”.

    Possible Suspect in Mosque Arson

    San Diego Sherriff William Gore has revealed that Earnest was also under investigation in connection with an arson at an Escondido mosque last month.

    READ MORE: UN Chief Says 'Deeply Troubled' by Synagogue Shooting in California

    In that incident, security cameras captured someone breaking a parking lot gate’s lock and pouring some liquid near a side door before setting it on fire. No one was injured as people who were at the mosque at the time managed to extinguish the blaze before firefighters arrived.

    Gore said the shooter opened fire at the synagogue with an “AR-style” semi-automatic rifle before fleeing the scene, and added that there were some indications that the gun could have malfunctioned after firing numerous rounds inside the house of worship.

    San Diego police chief, David Nisleit, said Earnest called 911 shortly after the incident and surrendered to law enforcement officers.


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