John Earnest, 22, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to murdering a woman, 60, with an AR-15-style gun and injuring three others while spewing anti-Semitic remarks in the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, California on the last day of Passover, April 27, 2019. The plea will spare Earnest the death penalty. He will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
BREAKING: Officials confirm there’s been a shooting at a synagogue in San Diego County, California, with injuries reported. https://t.co/jAUqaT05lf
— The National Desk (@TND) April 27, 2019
San Diego County district attorney Summer Stephan told the press that “while we reserved the option of trying this as a death penalty case, life in prison without the possibility of parole for the defendant is an appropriate resolution to this violent hate crime, and we hope it brings a measure of justice and closure to the victims, their families, friends, and the wider community.”
Well, say what you will, giving this murderous anti-Semite the gas chamber would have sent a meaningful message to the other Jew-haters out there. Pity.
Earnest will be sentenced on Sept. 30. He also faces federal charges regarding the same offense, and the feds have until Aug. 30 to declare whether they plan to ask for the death penalty – so not all hope is lost.
The shul Rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, was shot in both hands and lost an index finger during the same attack. An 8-year-old girl and her 34-year-old uncle were also injured.
Attendance at the Chabad synagogue was larger than usual—between 40 and 60—on that last day of Passover when congregants who don’t attend services often came to recite Yizkor, the Ashkenazi memorial prayers for the dead.
Rabbi Goldstein told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt after the attack that he was grateful to President Donald Trump and described how Trump had been “so gracious and generous” in a phone call to him.
“He was so gracious and generous with his words; exceedingly comforting to me, to my community, and he spoke to me like a friend,” Goldstein said. “I’m talking to the president of the United States. He was just exceedingly kind and sensitive, and we spoke for close to 15 minutes.”
Rabbi Goldstein told Hunt, “I thought to myself, for the president of the United States of America to take 15 minutes to talk to me about the issues at hand was just absolutely incredible and admirable. And we spoke about anti-Semitism.”
The gunman, John Earnest, was a Trump hater, and called him in a post he entered an hour before his attack, “that Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous [expletive].”