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Synagogue Shooting Suspect Investigated for Mosque Arson

19-year-old John T. Earnest is charged in shooting that killed 1
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2019 5:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police are digging into the background of the 19-year-old man being held in the California synagogue shooting that killed one and injured three on Saturday, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. John T. Earnest apparently penned a lengthy anti-Semitic manifesto detailing his "disgust" for Jewish people and expressing admiration for the gunmen who killed 50 in New Zealand mosques and 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue; the attack Saturday came exactly six months after the Pittsburgh shooting. Earnest is also being investigated for an attempted arson at a mosque in Escondido last month. The "open letter" attributed to him on social media take credit for that attempt, in which a letter referencing the New Zealand attacks was left, and says "I am a testament to the fact that literally anyone can do this."

Police say the shooting fell well short of the plans posted on social media, however: Witnesses say the gunman's AR-15-style weapon quickly jammed, preventing further tragedy. And the manifesto author planned to livestream the shooting, which didn't happen. CNN reports that Earnest is a student at California State University San Marcos. The woman killed in the shooting has been identified as 60-year-old Lori Kaye, who witnesses said jumped in front of the rabbi. An 8-year-old girl was among the injured. (Read more synagogue shooting stories.)

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