Family of suspected California synagogue shooter say their son is 'part of the history of evil' against Jews

SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty ImagesA memorial sits near the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, the day after a teenage gunman opened fire, killing one person and injuring three others.
  • The family of 19-year-old John Earnest, who is suspected of carrying out a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California last week, apologised publicly for their son’s “evil and despicable” actions.
  • In a statement released by the family’s lawyer, the family said they are “shocked and deeply saddened” by the shooting and expressed sympathies to those involved.
  • Earnest has yet to be convicted, but his family appears certain he is the perpetrator.
  • The shooting, which took place on Saturday during prayer services on the last day of Passover, left one woman dead and three people injured.
  • Earnest is due in court on May 1.

The family of 19-year-old John Earnest, who is suspected of carrying out a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California last week, apologised publicly for their son’s “evil and despicable” actions.

The shooting took place on Saturday, the last day of the Passover holiday, at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway when a man brandishing a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on the congregation.

One woman, 60-year-old Lori Kaye, was killed in the shooting, while three others, including the synagogue’s founding rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, an 8-year-old girl and a 34-year-old, man were injured.

In a statement released by their lawyers on Monday, Earnest’s family expressed “great shame” for what happened.

Earnest has yet to stand trial over the shootings, but his family appear to already be certain that Earnest is to blame.

The statement said: “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.”

“To our great shame, he is now a part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”

The family also sought to distance themselves from Earnest, whose name was linked to an anti-Semitic manifesto circulated online.

“Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold,” the statement read.

“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 he took to this evil and despicable act.”

The statement said the family does not expect to say anything else until after Earnest’s trial.

Read the full statement here:

Officials at Cal State University San Marcos confirmed in a statement that Earnest was a student at their north San Diego campus.

According to San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, Earnest has no prior arrests.

Gore said authorities are also investigating possible connections between Earnest and an arson attack that occurred last month at a mosque in Escondido, California.

The parking lot of the mosque was graffitied with a message which made reference to the New Zealand shooting, which saw 50 people killed in two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Gore said he believes the suspect acted alone. Earnest’s first court appearance is scheduled for May 1.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.