Synagogue Suspect's Parents: He's Now Part of 'History of Evil'

FBI got a tip minutes before shooting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2019 6:35 AM CDT
FBI Got a Tip Just Before Synagogue Shooting
Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, during the memorial service for Lori Kaye, who is pictured at left, in Poway, Calif.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The FBI says it received tips Saturday morning about a potential mass shooting targeting Jews—but it didn't have time to act. A California man identified only as Colin, 25, tells BuzzFeed that he was browsing the 8chan bulletin board, which is notorious for racist content, out of curiosity when he saw a manifesto posted by somebody calling himself John Earnest. "I can’t remember why, but the picture and the first line of the preview caught my attention," Colin says. "And I thought, is this like New Zealand?" Colin says the post threatened violence against Jews and said the mass shooting would be livestreamed. He says he called the FBI, who "took it really seriously"—but within minutes of the call, the Chabad of Poway synagogue was attacked. One person died and three were injured. Police say Earnest, 19, fled the scene and surrendered to authorities soon afterward.

The FBI says it received multiple calls about the post—which went up roughly 25 minutes before shots rang out—but the shooting happened before they could identify the poster or the location of the threat. "I guarantee the shooter didn’t post that until he was already in his car on his way down there," Colin says. "They know it’s too small of a window—that’s why he used his real name. It didn’t matter, they weren’t going to get to him." Earnest has been charged with murder and attempted murder. His parents say they raised him and his five siblings to "reject hate," the AP reports. "To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries," they said in a statement Monday. They are cooperating with investigators and do not plan to provide legal representation for their son. (Earnest is also a suspect in the burning of a mosque.)

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