Updated at 8:31 p.m. ET
Authorities have identified the suspect in a shooting Saturday at a synagogue in the San Diego suburb of Poway, Calif., as 19-year-old John Earnest, from the city of San Diego. At least one person died and three were injured in the attack.
Earnest had an AR-style assault weapon when he was arrested. Authorities say he had no prior arrest warrants or contact with law enforcement, and that they are reviewing social media posts and a letter attributed to the suspect.
The shooting is being investigated as a possible homicide, hate crime and federal civil rights violation. Authorities are also working with the FBI to investigate whether Earnest is linked to an arson at a nearby mosque last month.
The incident took place at the Chabad of Poway synagogue and came on the final day of Passover.
An older woman died from her wounds in the shooting, and authorities say the injured includes a victim who is in surgery; an adult in stable condition; and a child who has been transported to a children’s hospital. One of the injured was a rabbi at the synagogue.
“This is not Poway,” Vaus told reporters. “We always walk with our arms around each other, and we will walk through this tragedy with our arms around each other … Poway will stay strong, and we will always be a community that cares for each other.”
The shooting occurred six months to the day since 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The Chabad of Poway synagogue was scheduled to host a Passover Holiday Celebration on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., according to its website. The festivities were scheduled to conclude with a holiday meal at 7 p.m.
But shortly after the scheduled start time, deputies were called to the area.
“Deputies investigate reports of a man with a gun. Please stay clear of the area and allow deputies to safely do their job. Thank you for your patience and cooperation,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet.
Speaking to reporters outside of the White House, President Trump offered his condolences to members of the synagogue. Trump said, “My deepest sympathies go to the people that were affected, the families, their loved ones … It looks like a hate crime. Hard to believe.”
Sara Bloomfield, the Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, said in a statement, “Moving forward this must serve as yet another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace. The Holocaust is a reminder of the dangers of unchecked antisemitism and the way hate can infect a society. All Americans must unequivocally condemn it and confront it in wherever it appears.”
This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.
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