On Saturday, April 27th one woman was killed and three people injured at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in an act of religious intolerance motivated by white supremacy. The victims were celebrating the last day of Passover when a 19-year-old man opened fire, using an AR-15 style assault rifle. Six months prior to the shooting, eleven people were killed and seven injured at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The shooter has also claimed responsibility for the Escondido mosque fire and in his manifesto emphasized racist and antisemitic ideologies. The city of Poway has expressed solidarity with the Jewish community by holding two vigils for the victims, one at Valle Verde Park on Sunday, April 28th and the other at Poway High School on Monday, April 29th with an estimated turnout of 4,000 people. Some students in support of the Jewish community wore blue to school on Monday, April 29th.
The Earnest family has since released a statement regarding the shooter’s actions.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue. But our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people. He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day. To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries. Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold. Like our other five children, he was raised in a family, a faith, and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do. How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act. To that end, our family is cooperating with investigators. We ask only that the media and the public respect our privacy and allow the criminal justice system to work. Our heavy hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors. Our thanks go to the first responders who prevented even greater loss of life and the well-wishers who have supported us. And we pray for peace.”