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Suspected Poway synagogue shooter charged with arson ahead of Tuesday court appearance

Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 09:06:59-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The 19-year-old accused of opening fire inside a Poway synagogue, killing one and injuring three others, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

John Earnest is scheduled to appear in San Diego court at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30.

The day before the his arraignment, an additional arson charge was filed against Earnest.

In his 8-page open letter for the mass shooting, Earnest brags about starting the March 23 fire at the Islamic Center of Escondido.

"When we found out that the same person who tried to burn our mosque in Escondido was the same person that did this horrific act, I felt for saddened," said Yusef Miller of the Islamic Society of North County.

Miller says Earnest's confession is closure, but not in a way that anyone ever would have imagined.

"It’ll take a community effort for all of us to move forward in this, we can't isolate the incident to a Jewish incident or a Muslim incident," added Miller, "it’s a incident against all of us and that’s the only way we can get through."

Earnest is being charged with one count of murder with a hate-crime special circumstance, three counts of attempted murder and one count of arson.

Earnest is accused of attacking the Chabad of Poway Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m.

According to police, Earnest used an AR-15 to carry out the attack.

60-year-old Lori Kaye was killed in the attack and three other people, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Almog Peretz and 8-year-old Noya Dahan were all injured. All three have since been released from the hospital.

In announcing the additional charge filed against Earnest Monday, San Diego County’s District Attorney released the following statement:

On behalf of the members of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, our hearts go out to the victims of the Chabad of Poway shooting. We offer our condolences for the loss of precious life and the violence that fell upon members of the Jewish congregation, gathered to celebrate the end of Passover. All of San Diego County law enforcement is working to investigate this crime. We do not tolerate attacks based on religion in San Diego County. Our specialized prosecutors and our victim advocates are working around the clock alongside Sheriff Gore and partner agencies to ensure justice is carried out and that victims are provided support and know how to successfully navigate the criminal justice system.