Federal Officials File 109 Hate Crime Charges Against Man Accused in Poway Synagogue Shooting

Ameera Butt
May 09, 2019 - 11:41 am

Federal officials have filed 109 hate crime charges against the man accused of opening fire at the Chabad of Poway synagogue last month.

"This federal complaint alleges that these crimes were explicitly motivated by hatred for the Jewish and Muslim community. It also alleges the defendant posted a manifesto online in which he claimed to be inspired by hate-motivated killers responsible or for the Tree of Life synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and the Christchurch New Zealand mosque shooting," US Attorney Robert Brewer said.

Brewer says based on the charges 19-year-old John Earnest faces life in prison and the death penalty.

Earnest has pleaded not guilty to state charges of murder and attempted murder and also pleaded not guilty to burning a mosque in nearby Escondido.

An hour before the attack, the suspect allegedly wrote an anti-Jewish online screed.

At the time of the Poway attack, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh said in a statement that "we are heartbroken — and appalled and outraged. ... This must stop."

Last month, the FBI said it got tips about a threatening social media post about five minutes before a deadly attack on a synagogue near San Diego but it was too late to identify the suspect.

-KNX 1070. AP contributed to this report