Chabad synagogue in Poway.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JOHN GASTALDO)
The Poway Sheriff's Department has identified the suspect in the shooting at the Poway synagogue as John Earnest, a far-right activist who allegedly posted a manifesto shortly before the attack and may have been involved in another hate crime.
About twenty minutes before the attack, a Twitter user reported that a manifesto had been published on a site popularly used by the far Right and was worried that a mass shooting was imminent. The manifesto has been attributed to Earnest, but this is still under investigation.
The manifesto contained common far-right catchphrases, including descriptions of an "international Jewry" which is responsible for countless age-old blood libels, including the murder of Christ and alleged control over the media and the economy. This is similar to a trope in the antisemitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Earnest wrote that: "Every Jew young and old has contributed to these. For these crimes they deserve nothing but hell. I will send them there."
He also stated that he hoped to inspire others to commit similar crimes and that he expected to be freed from prison and would "continue the fight."
The manifesto is full of religious imagery. He repeated throughout that he was carrying out the attack to be a good Christian, saying "My God understands why I did what I did." He proceeded to quote several verses from the New Testament as "proof."
He also claimed in the post that the popular YouTuber known as Pewdiepie funded and planned the attack. He also stated that he carried out an arson attack in Escondido, where a fire broke out at Dar-ul-Arqam mosque, also known as the Islamic Center of Escondido, a week after the New Zealand mosque attacks. A note referencing the New Zealand attacks was left at the mosque. Police are currently investigating his involvement in that incident.
Throughout the manifesto, he also referred to other minorities with racist terms, blaming them for a wide variety of personal complaints as well.
Earnest had no prior encounters with law enforcement.
Similar manifestos have been published with other racist and antisemitic attacks, including by the New Zealand attacker.
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