John T. Earnest has been named in media reports as the gunman who opened fire on worshippers inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, killing one woman. He reportedly cited the New Zealand mosque attack as his inspiration.
The man behind the deadly rampage on Saturday afternoon that left one person dead and three injured has been tentatively identified as John T. Earnest., a 19-year-old white male from San Diego, NBC reported, citing “multiple law enforcement sources.”
Police have so far has not disclosed the suspect’s identity, nor have they speculated about his motive for what both President Donald Trump and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus denounced as an apparent hate crime.
A manifesto which some believe was penned by the attacker and published shortly before he went on a shooting spree inside the temple on Saturday, has been circulated on social media. San Diego Sheriff Bill 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 the officers have yet to prove authenticity of the purported evidence.
“We have copies of his social media posts and his ‘open letter’ and will be reviewing those to determine the legitimacy of it and exactly how it plays into the investigation,” he said.
The 8-page document, which has since been reviewed by several media outlets, bears striking similarities to the manifesto attributed to the Christchurch mosque attacker and cites him as an inspiration. The manifesto is written in the form of a questionnaire with the author answering his own questions about ideology, his attitude to religion and terrorism. Filled with anti-Semitic slurs and racist rants, the manifesto blames “Jewry” for “sealing the doom” of the European race. The author, who introduces himself as a “man of European ancestry” and “a descendent of one of the original colonists,” says that although he as an “individual” may kill only a small number of Jews, he hopes that his grim act would inspire others “to take a stand.”
In the manifesto Earnest reportedly admits to setting a nearby mosque on fire a month before. The mosque was defaced with spray-painted graffiti with a reference to the New Zealand attack. Police told NBC they are now working to confirm if Earnest might have been behind the arson, which did not lead to any casualties and caused minor damage.
Erneast allegedly wrote on Reddit that he was planning to stream his shooting live on Facebook, but the plans were reportedly fell apart after Facebook froze his account.
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