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New documents released surrounding accused Poway synagogue shooter case

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 16, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:59:49-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - New documents in a search warrant reveal evidence in the investigation of the Poway synagogue shooting during which one person was killed and three were injured.

Evidence cited in the documents confirms rumors that have been spread over the last two months surrounding a possible live stream and an alternative chat room site where many alleged John T. Earnest adopted his hateful ideology.

The document states, "San Diego Police Department ("SDPD") Officers responded to that location and took John Earnest into custody without further incident. Seen on the front passenger seat was an AR-I5 rifle but no handgun was visible. Additionally, in the vehicle was a helmet with a Go-Pro camera on it."

The document later describes the suspect's disposition after officers made contact. "At that time, Earnest did not appear to be under the influence of a controlled substance but did appear to have a 'flat affect' as though he was detached or unaffected by his actions," the document says.

The document brings up the manifesto that was the subject of a previous 10News report. "An SDSD system data miner, found a manifesto on written by a person identifying himself as John Earnest," the document says. "In the manifesto, which he named 'An Open Letter.'"

On page six of the document, there is a reference to how Earnest adopted his ideology. "During that interview, he informed an SDSO Detective that he had adopted his ideology of hate for members of the Jewish religion approximately 18 month earlier. Based on my training and experience, I know that there is a process in which someone undergoes adoption of radical ideologies. This process can take several months or several years before a person actually commits to those ideologies. During the interview, Earnest also stated that he was inspired by individuals such as Adolph Hitler and Brenton Tarrant."

The document also looks at a Facebook post, from a page investigators linked to Earnest. "Earnest made a posting in which he thought to draw attention to his forthcoming attack on the Chabad of Poway, share his views through his open letter, and offer people the opportunity to observe the attack itself," the document says.

The document also contains statements referring to the alternative message board site 8chan, where many believe Earnest adopted a hateful ideology. "Earnest stated in the subject posting, "I've only been lurking for a year and a half, yet, what I've learned here is priceless." This information suggests that Earnest was inspired and/or educated by individuals who commented on his threads."

The document explains how hard it is to track users on the site and how easy it is to modify or erase information on the site. For those reasons investigators wanted to keep the search warrant sealed.

In attached files, the document shows comments from 8chan users asking "anyone had a decent read of the manifesto yet?" As well as "Anybody not already at least on a vpn [virtual private network] is playing with fire here, don't get yourselves caught before actually making an effort."

Earnest will be in court for the preliminary hearing for his state case on August 19.