The parents of the alleged 19-year-old California synagogue shooter have released a statement condemning the attack, which killed one and left three others injured.
John Earnest’s family released the statement on Monday, two days after he allegedly burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Passover.
Earnest has since been charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Noya Dohan, eight, and her uncle Almog Peretz, 34, were all injured.
‘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,’ the statement from his parents begins.
The family of John Earnest, the alleged 19-year-old California synagogue shooter have released a statement condemning the attack, which killed one and left three others injured
Earnest’s family released the statement on Monday, two days after he allegedly burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on Passover
‘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.’
Earnest’s parents revealed that his 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 move for everything we do,’ they continued.
‘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.’
Earnest’s parents added that they are cooperating with investigators and asked for privacy.
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in the attack. Witnesses said she was shot while trying to protect Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was injured in the attack
Gilbert-Kaye’s husband and daughter were also at the synagogue at the time of the attack. The husband tried to save her with CPR before he fainted from shock
‘Our heavy hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors,’ they wrote. ‘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.’
Public records show that Earnest’s father is a high school teacher and the president of an orthodox Presbyterian church in Escondido.
A manifesto posted online shortly before the attack revealed that the shooting was motivated by a hatred of Jewish people. It also took credit for a separate attack on an Escondido mosque last month.
Earnest allegedly claimed he tried to burn down the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido on March 24, adding that he spray-painted the message ‘For Brenton Tarrant’ in the parking lot of the mosque.
Tarrant has been accused of killing 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, a week before the arson attack in Escondido.
Authorities at the time said the suspect had left a message in graffiti in the mosque’s parking lot that referenced the New Zealand shooting.
The manifesto author wrote that he was carrying out the attack on the synagogue because he was a good Christian.
‘My god understands why I did what I did,’ it read, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Goldstein (pictured on Sunday) lost his right index finger in the attack after the gunman shot both of his hands
Noya Dohan, eight, was injured by shrapnel in the shooting. She witnessed the moment Kaye-Gilbert saved the rabbi
Dohan’s uncle Almog Peretz, 34, was shot in the leg while trying to save children in the synagogue on Saturday. He is pictured here in the hospital after the shooting
The author claimed that Jewish people were responsible for the murder of Christ and now control the media and economy.
‘Every Jew young and old has contributed to these,’ it reads. ‘For these crimes they deserve nothing but hell. I will send them there.’
The manifesto author also revealed he believed that he would be freed from prison and promised to ‘continue the fight’.
In the 4,000-word manifesto, the author described himself as a 19-year-old nursing student and native of California. Earnest was a student at California State University, San Marcos.
‘If you told me even six months ago that I would do this I would have been surprised,’ the author wrote.
Piuctured is the car that was allegedly used by Earnest to flee the shooting on Saturday
Earnest’s father is seen being interviewed by police. Public records show that the father is a high school teacher and the president of an orthodox Presbyterian church in Escondido
Heavily armed San Diego police officers approach Earnest’s home following the shooting
‘I’m just a normal dude who wanted to have a family, help and heal people, and play piano.’
He wrote that he was inspired by the Christchurch attack, revealing that Tarrant was his ‘catalyst’.
The author also references the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue exactly six months to the day before the Poway attack, as well as the suspect in that case, Robert Bowers. Both Bowers and Tarrant are in custody.
Like Tarrant in his own writings, the manifesto author states that his end goal is to prompt the US government to begin confiscating guns, predicting that a civil war will ensue. The author said he had been planning the attack for four weeks.
Saturday’s shooting unfolded during services on the last day of Passover. There are believed to have been about 100 people inside the synagogue at the time of the attack.