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Alleged Poway synagogue shooter charged with murder

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A view of the Chabad congregation in Poway, Ca. (Google Street View)

John Earnest, the alleged gunman in the attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, was charged with murder.

Earnest, 19, was charged on Sunday afternoon with one count of murder in the first degree, and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree, according to jail records posted on the website of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the Saturday morning attack, and three people, including an 8-year-old girl, were injured.

Earnest is not eligible for bail, according to the sheriff’s department. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon.

Local officials have accused Earnest of a hate crime. Authorities are working to determine whether it can apply state hate crimes laws to the attack and if he violated federal civil rights laws, the Daily Beast reported.

Earnest called in the shooting to police after fleeing the scene. He was taken into police custody several blocks from the synagogue, reportedly emerging from his car with his hands in the air. An assault rifle was found in the front seat of the vehicle, as was an action camera, indicating that he had planned to film the synagogue shooting.

Earnest also claims that he set fire to a mosque in Escondido, California, in the weeks after the shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The claim is under investigation.

A nursing student, Earnest is on the dean’s list at California State University, San Marcos.

In a manifesto he is believed to have posted on 8Chan, a conspiracy theory message board, the writer says that he was inspired by the Tree of Life synagogue gunman in Pittsburgh along with the New Zealand mosque shooter. He also calls President Donald Trump “Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-white.”