POWAY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have identified the suspect in a shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego as John Earnest and say he’s also being investigated in a fire at a mosque in a nearby city last month.
San Diego County Sheriff William Gore told reporters Saturday that the 19-year-old had no prior arrests. He’s accused of killing a woman and wounding three others at Chabad of Poway on the last day of Passover.
Gore says his department will work with the FBI and the city of Escondido to investigate Earnest’s possible connection to an arson that caused property damage at Dar-ul-Arqam mosque last month but no injuries.
A person who said they are John Earnest wrote an anti-Jewish screed online that contained some elements not to be believed, like an allegation a YouTube star helped plan and fund the attack.
The post says he was in nursing school and cited the suspects accused of carrying out deadly attacks on mosques New Zealand and Pittsburgh synagogue last year.
Authorities say a woman has died and three others are hospitalized in stable condition after a shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego.
San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said at a news conference that a white man entered Chabad of Poway on Saturday and opened fire on worshippers with an AR-type assault weapon.
Gore says an off-duty Border Patrol agent believed to be inside the synagogue shot at the suspect as he fled. The sheriff says the agent didn’t hit him but struck his car.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit says the 19-year-old suspect called police to report the shooting and a California Highway Patrol officer heard it on a police scanner, saw the suspect and pulled him over. Nisleit says the suspect got out of his car with his hands up and he was taken into custody without incident.
Gore says a woman died from her injuries, while a girl and two men are in the hospital.
The shooting came exactly six months since a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
Officials say San Diego County deputies were called just before 11:30 a.m. Four patients were admitted to Palomar Health Medical Center Hospital around 12:30 p.m., spokesman Derryl Acosta said.
A handful of police cars were parked outside the synagogue in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of San Diego. Crime tape surrounded the street in front of the building.
Passover began on April 19 and was ending Saturday.
In Pittsburgh, a truck driver who authorities say expressed hatred of Jews has been charged in the Oct. 27 rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue. He’s pleaded not guilty.