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One person killed and three injured as gunman opens fire in US synagogue

The suspect was arrested after fleeing the scene.

APTOPIX Synagogue Shooting-California People outside of the Chabad of Poway synagogue following the shooting Source: Denis Poroy via AP

ONE PERSON HAS been killed and three others have been injured after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a synagogue in California, US. 

Those wounded included the rabbi – who had injuries to both index fingers – as well as a female minor and a man (34) who was injured by shrapnel, the San Diego County Sheriff said.

A 60-year-old woman died from her wounds. 

The suspect was arrested after fleeing the scene and has been identified as 19-year-old John Earnest, who had no prior arrest record. 

Earnest burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue – where there were around 100 people – shortly after 11.20 am local time yesterday and opened fire with an assault weapon that appears to have malfunctioned, preventing him from inflicting more harm, the sheriff said. 

An off-duty border patrol agent who was at the synagogue at the time of the shooting opened fire on the gunman as he was fleeing, striking his car but missing the suspect.

The man was eventually apprehended by a San Diego police officer who had been monitoring dispatch radio and raced to the scene.

“He clearly saw the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect jumped out with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody by the San Diego police department,” San Diego police chief David Nisleit said.

APTOPIX Synagogue Shooting California Heavily armed San Diego police officers approach a house thought to be the home of 19 year-old John Earnest Source: John Gibbins via AP

Hate-filled manifesto

Authorities examined Earnest’s social media activity and have established the authenticity of an anti-Semitic open letter he apparently published on a far-right message board hours before the attack, the sheriff said. 

“We have copies of his social media posts and his open letter and we’ll be reviewing those to determine the legitimacy of it and how it plays into the investigation,” he said.

Los Angeles officials have said they were boosting patrols around synagogues and other places of worship in light of the attack.

Synagogue Shooting-California The Chabad of Poway Synagogue Source: Denis Poroy via AP

Speaking at a rally, US President Donald Trump denounced the shooting as a “hate crime” and offered his support to the victims. 

“Tonight, America’s heart is with the victims of the horrific synagogue shooting in California,” he told supporters.

Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate which must be defeated.

Tweet by @CNN Source: CNN/Twitter

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom also denounced the tragedy.

“While we continue to learn more about what transpired, we can’t ignore the circumstances around this horrific incident,” he said. 

No one should have to fear going to their place of worship, and no one should be targeted for practicing the tenets of their faith.

Includes reporting by © AFP 2019

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