John Earnest, the 19-year-old accused in the deadly Passover shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who believes he was doing God’s will in attacking Jews he blames for killing Jesus.
Earnest, whose father is an elder at the Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Diego, reportedly highlighted his belief that Jews deserved to die for things like killing Jesus and controlling media in a seven-page manifesto written prior to the April 27 attack.
His actions left one woman dead and three others including an 8-year-old injured. He has since been charged with one count of murder in the first degree, and three counts of attempted murder in the first degree. He is also charged with arson in connection with an attack last month on a mosque in nearby Escondido.
For those who knew Earnest, his ideology came as a shock.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue,” Earnest’s parents said in a statement through a lawyer.
“To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries. Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold. Like our other five children, he was raised in a family, a faith, and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do,” they said.
In the manifesto, Earnest reportedly not only attacked Jews and racial minorities, but wielded Christian theology he heard in the pews in defense of his positions.
“How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act. … Our heavy hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors. Our thanks go to the first responders who prevented even greater loss of life and the well-wishers who have supported us. And we pray for peace,” the parents said.
Before the shooting, Earnest was known as a college student and athlete studying nursing at California State University, San Marcos, while living at home with his parents.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair