California officials are reportedly investigation a claim in the alleged manifesto of synagogue shooting suspect John Earnest that he was responsible for setting a blaze in a nearby mosque last month.
Police accused Earnest of opening fire in a synagogue outside of San Diego on Saturday in an attack that left one dead and several others injured. As Reuters reported, the 19-year-old is accused of opening fire on Passover worshipers with an assault-style rifle, shooting at congregants and killing a woman while wounding the synagogue’s rabbi.
Before the shooting, Earnest reportedly posted a “manifesto” online in which he espoused white supremacist beliefs and a desire to kill Jews. He also claimed responsibility for an attack at a mosque in nearby Escondido in which he scribbled graffiti that praised the man who killed 50 people in the attacks on mosques in New Zealand.
In the manifesto, Earnest described the graffiti he wrote in the parking lot and said he did not realize that there were people inside the mosque at the time he started the blaze.
The Inquisitr reported on the fire at the time it took place, noting that the fire had originally been investigated as a potential hate crime as it took place just one week after the attacks in New Zealand. As the Herald Courier reported, fire crews responded to a report of a fire in the early morning hours on March 24. Some people were inside the mosque and were able to put out the flames before there was any serious damage, but a wall was blackened.
At the time, police expressed concern that there could be other attacks on places of worship.
“Everyone should remain absolutely vigilant and watchful at their prayer centers,” Escondido police Lt. Chris Lick told the Herald Courier.
“If there are people who are not supposed to be there, please give us a call.”
Police did not say at the time if they had a suspect, and it was not clear if any evidence connected Earnest to the mosque. In his manifesto, the 19-year-old expressed hatred toward Jews as well as other ethnic groups and minorities, saying he wanted to kill in protection of European heritage. He also said he is not a supporter of Donald Trump, who he believed to be too close to Jewish interests.
John Earnest is charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder for the synagogue shooting. He has not been charged in relation to the burned church in Escondido.