On Monday, the FBI revealed that they had received multiple calls about a security threat just minutes before 19-year-old gunman John Earnest opened fire at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, California, on Saturday, reports The Daily Mail. The agency claims that despite the tip-offs, they did not have enough time or information to act and prevent the shooting.
According to the FBI, multiple tips came in regarding a threatening online social media post about a potential attack on a synagogue. However, the post did not specify a place nor time of the attack. Although the FBI immediately began working on the lead after receiving the calls, the gunman opened fire just five minutes later.
In a statement, the FBI thanked the citizens for calling in after seeing the online post, allegedly posted by the shooter, expressing his hatred of the Jewish faith and people and citing the Christchurch, New Zealand, attack as his inspiration.
“The FBI thanks the alert citizens who saw and reported the post.”
The police identified the shooter as John Earnest, who fled the scene after killing one person and injuring three, and later surrendered himself. Synagogue members buried 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye on Monday, while Almog Peretz and his 9-year-old niece Noya Dahan were wounded by shrapnel and taken immediately to the hospital. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was also injured in the attack, losing one of his fingers after he was shot in both hands.
While Earnest is being held without bail, he has also admitted responsibility for starting a fire at a local mosque in March, writes the Daily Mail. Additionally, he cited the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that took place exactly six months prior as further inspiration for his actions, per The Guardian.
Since the attack, Earnest’s parents have spoken out about their son’s actions, claiming that he was “informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold.”
“How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us. Our heavy hearts will forever go out to the victims and survivors.”
Kaye was one of the founding members of the synagogue and loved by her community. Rabbi Goldstein stated that Kaye “is a person of unconditional love,” and added that she had taken “the bullet for all of us.”
At Kaye’s memorial service, Goldstein spoke more about his friend and the attack.
“There’s a big garden out there,” the rabbi said. “God took the rose of the garden, and he brought her up to heaven. We saw the darkest of humanity. I saw it face to face. I wish to never see that ever again.”