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California synagogue shooter gets life sentence

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The 2019 shooting at a California synagogue left one person dead and three injured./AFP
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Oct 01, 2021 - 09:21 AM

LOS ANGELES — A young man was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, without the possibility of parole, for opening fire at a California synagogue in 2019, which left one person killed and three others injured.

John Earnest, 22, pleaded guilty for the attack on the Chabad Synagogue in Poway, near San Diego.

Earnest, a former nursing student, killed a 60-year-old woman, and injured three more people, including a child and the rabbi.

Several dozen of people were inside the synagogue at that time.

“I’m just trying to defend my nation from the Jewish people,” Earnest said, according to court documents.

Earnest also pleaded guilty to setting a mosque on fire in March 2019, an act he described in a racist and anti-Semitic pamphlet posted online hours before the attack on the synagogue.

Earnest faced the death penalty, which, while still in force in California, has been suspended until further notice since 2006.

The attack on the last day of Passover celebrations, came exactly six months after an attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018 that left 11 people dead.

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