Prosecutors Add Hate Crimes To Long List Of Charges Against Poway Shooter

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The 19-year-old accused of opening fire in a Chabad shul in Poway near San Diego last month, killing one and injuring three others, was charged Thursday with 109 federal hate crimes and civil rights violations – making it possible for him to face the death penalty, authorities said.

John Earnest had been facing state murder and attempted murder charges in connection with the April 27 attack on the Chabad of Poway, California. Federal authorities added dozens of charges of their own, alleging in a criminal complaint that the shooting was motivated by Earnest’s animus toward Jews and that he was also responsible for a March 24 arson at a mosque in Escondido, California.

“This federal complaint alleges that these crimes were explicitly motivated by hatred toward the Jewish and Muslim communities,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said at a news conference to announce the charges.

The federal counts included obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, hate crime acts and damaging religious property. Brewer said prosecutors brought 54 charges each of obstruction and hate crime acts to represent “one count for every person in the synagogue on April 27.” Among those present, he said, were 12 children.

“Our actions today are inspired by our desire to achieve justice for all of the victims and their families,” Brewer said. He said the federal and state cases will proceed at the same time, and Earnest is expected to appear in federal court next week.

While the charges against Earnest carry a possible death sentence, federal prosecutors still must decide whether they will seek that penalty.

The attack on the Chabad of Poway came on the last day of Pesach and six months after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a shooter killed 11 people and injured six others.

Brewer said Thursday that Earnest had posted an online manifesto citing the Pittsburgh attack, as well as the recent attacks on mosques in New Zealand.

Brewer said that Earnest wrote in the post, “As an individual, I can only kill so many Jews.”

Lori Kaye, 60, of Poway was killed in the shooting, and three others were wounded, including a child. The San Diego County Sheriff has said the shooter’s assault rifle malfunctioned after he fired inside the synagogue, and that might have prevented more carnage. Brewer said Earnest had 60 rounds of ammunition.

The shooter fled after the incident, but called 911 from his car and offered a chilling account of his motivation, Brewer said.

“I just shot up a synagogue,” Earnest said, according to Brewer. “I’m just trying to defend my nation against the Jewish people. They’re destroying our people.”

(c) 2019, The Washington Post ยท Matt Zapotosky



  1. there is something very terrible going on in this country now that a teenage boy can be so riddled with hatred that he figures out how to buy weapons and kill people. it doesnt seem to matter if he hates people he has never met because of their religion or their race. it doesnt matter if the people being slain are old enough to be the grandparents of the killer or young enough to be his classmates. is this hatred what has been substituted for taking religion out of public schools? wake up, america. when children (and their parents) cant decide what gender they were born with or when a mother can decide as her child is in the birth canal that she changed her mind, it is no wonder that the youth in this country are going amok!!

  2. So dumb! He is a murderer; hate charges don’t deter murderers, he is going to die of old age on California “death row”. The only effect of the hate crime laws is a creation of a two tier justice system, where shwartzes, perverts and islamonazis are the privileged class. DA’s (almost) never charge Jew-hating crimes as hate-crimes.

  3. All Democrat candidates want to take legally owned guns away from citizens but have no problem leaving guns with criminals.

  4. Why does Matzav have to display this Rasha’s picture or any other Rasha as it is want to do? Especially smiling as if this monster dr is part of the human race!!

  5. Death penalty won’t do… He needs to live in an isolated windowless cell and be subjected go sub human conditions and hellish work.


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