Photo: AFP
Outside of Lori Gilbert Kaye's memorial service
Photo: AFP

California synagogue attack suspect due in court as victim laid to rest

Teenage gunman charged with murder and hate crime as special circumstance; meanwhile, rabbi who was saved by Lori Gilbert Kaye presides over her memorial service held at the synagogue where the shooting took place

The 19-year-old accused of carrying out a gun attack in a California synagogue, which left one woman dead and three others wounded, was due in a San Diego court on Tuesday, with his charges rated as hate crimes. Meanwhile, the shooting's sole fatality - 60-year-old congregant Lori Gilbert Kaye - was laid to rest on Monday.  



Saturday's attack on Chabad of Poway synagogue in suburban San Diego happened six months to the day after 11 worshippers were shot to death at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest attack ever on American Jewry.


John Earnest faces one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder, all of them with hate crime added as a special circumstance, the San Diego District Attorney's Office said on Monday. He also faces one count of arson.


Outside of Lori Gilbert Kaye's memorial service (Photo: AFP)
Outside of Lori Gilbert Kaye's memorial service (Photo: AFP)


"We offer our condolences for the loss of a precious life and the violence that fell upon members of the Jewish congregation, gathered to celebrate the end of Passover," District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement.


Earnest, who is being held without bail, appears to have written an online manifesto in which he also claimed responsibility for a pre-dawn arson attack at a nearby mosque last month and professed inspiration from the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people in March.


Police and the FBI are still investigating a motive for the shooting.


John Earnest (Photo: Facebook)
John Earnest (Photo: Facebook)


A funeral was held at the synagogue for Gilbert-Kaye, one of its founding members, and she was remembered as a deeply caring member of the community.


Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, one of three people who were wounded, losing his right index finger in the shooting, presided over the memorial service.


He described the horror of shooting in an opinion column in the New York Times, expressing his grief and bewilderment.


He also wrote that it should have been his funeral on Monday.


Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein presided over the memorial service (Photo: AP)
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein presided over the memorial service (Photo: AP)


"I do not know God's plan," he wrote. "All I can do is try to find meaning in what has happened. And to use this borrowed time to make my life matter more."


San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Earnest has no prior criminal record. If convicted, Earnest faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty, the district attorney's office said.


פרסום ראשון: 04.30.19, 13:25
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