NewsLocal News


Search warrants unsealed in Poway synagogue shooting investigation

POWAY SYNAGOGUE memorial.jpeg
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:45:55-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The suspect in the deadly Poway synagogue shooting appeared to be unaffected by his actions when he was questioned by authorities, according to search warrants unsealed on Wednesday.

Warrants obtained by Team 10 stated 19-year-old John T. Earnest was interrogated by investigators regarding the April 27 shooting that killed one person and injured three others. While he said there were no additional weapons at his home, it was noted in the warrants that Earnest seemed detached from the magnitude of the incident.

Other noteworthy passages in the 17 search warrants:

-- San Diego sheriff’s investigators found a manifesto on the Pastebin site that was written by a person who identified themselves as John Earnest. The manifesto contained anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim statements.

-- In the manifesto, the writer -- believed to be Earnest -- admitted to starting the March 24 fire that erupted at an Escondido mosque. The writer also cited the “sacrifice” of Brenton Tarrant, the man suspected of carrying out deadly attacks at two New Zealand mosques on March 15.

-- On April 4, Earnest is believed to have created an Amazon account, and in the days that followed, purchases made on the account included a tactical helmet, waterproof GoPro camera, a ripstop side load gear duffle bag, Condor Recon chest rig, and a 32 GB memory card.

-- Search warrant allowed authorities to review surveillance footage recorded inside the Chabad of Poway. According to the warrant, the video showed the suspect firing an AR-15 rifle at people inside the temple. During the search of the temple, 10 .223-caliber expended cartridges and five .38-caliber expended cartridges were found. Other evidence collected from inside the temple included blood samples, furniture and walls that appeared to be damaged by the gunfire.

Earnest has pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.

Worshipper Lori Kaye was killed, and the gunfire injured Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, worshipper Almog Peretz, and his 8-year-old niece.

Other documents related to the case have been released since the attack, including federal reports released in mid-June that indicated the assault rifle Earnest allegedly used in the attack was purchased from a licensed dealer in San Diego. In the reports, federal authorities said Earnest “picked up the rifle on April 26, 2019.”

Read search warrants:

  • 1: Regarding Facebook photos, video, and posts
  • 2: Regarding a purported Facebook livestream link about the shooting, along with account information, messages, and friends
  • 3: Requests access to Google account and devices, including GoPro camera, phones, laptops, and surveillance video
  • 4: Requests records from Mt. Carmel High, CSU San Marcos
  • 5: Requests search of Mt. Carmel High, CSU San Marcos
  • 6: Requests search of Mt. Carmel High, CSU San Marcos
  • 7: Search request for Mission Federal Credit Union to access bank records
  • 8: Requests internet history search and details Earnest's surrender and alleged manifesto
  • 9:Regarding Facebook account information
  • 10: Regarding educational records from Mt. Carmel High, CSU San Marcos
  • 11: Records access request for Earnest's accounts on Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others
  • 12: Requests social media access, details Amazon purchases
  • 13: Regarding Google account
  • 14: Requests access to Facebook account
  • 15: Request to search Earnest's home, medical records, devices, and cars
  • 16: Request for digital account access