Sandy Huffaker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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On Saturday, another community was stunned by an attack on a house of worship.
This time, the place was Poway, a quiet, shaded suburb north of San Diego, where a gunman opened fire at a synagogue during a service on the last day of Passover.
A 60-year-old woman was killed. A rabbi was shot in the hand and two other people were left with shrapnel wounds.
Mayor Steve Vaus of Poway told me he saw the timing of the shooting, a little more than a week after leaders hosted an interfaith event aimed at building strength across the city’s religious communities, as “a bit of a twisted irony.”
Mr. Vaus emphasized that Poway is an “idyllic” place where neighbors have helped one another fend off wildfire flames with garden hoses. Its residents, he said, wouldn’t be “bowed by hatred.”
As for the gunman? “I’m anxious for the suspect to feel the full force of the law,” he said.
Here’s what you need to know:
The police say a 19-year-old man armed with an AR-15-style gun stormed into the Chabad of Poway synagogue a little before noon on Saturday, yelling anti-Semitic slurs. The synagogue was more full than usual, since it was a holiday.
The congregation’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, tried talking to the man after he opened fire, but he fired again.
Lori Gilbert Kaye died after jumping in front of the rabbi to protect him. The rabbi was hit in both hands.
The gunman left the building, potentially after his weapon malfunctioned, and surrendered to the police a short time later. He was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder on Sunday morning. Officials said they were investigating whether he posted an anti-Semitic manifesto online before the attack.
What do we know about the gunman?
Authorities have identified the gunman as John Earnest, from San Diego.
Officials said they’re investigating whether Mr. Earnest posted a racist manifesto on the online message board 8chan ahead of the attack.
The document is an anti-Semitic screed filled with white nationalist conspiracy theories. Its author said he was inspired by a horrific mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was streamed online, and the massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, which took place exactly six months prior.
The author also says he was responsible for a fire at a mosque in Escondido, not far away.
Mr. Earnest was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder on Sunday morning.
Does this fit into any broader patterns?
In a word, yes. Experts said the…
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