Mourners leave mementos across the street from the Chabad Community Center in Poway, April 29, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Gabrielle Birkner)
Mourners leave mementos across the street from the Chabad Community Center in Poway, April 29, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Gabrielle Birkner)

Poway synagogue shooter sentenced to life without parole

The man who opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California, in 2019 will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The shooter, who attacked the Chabad of Poway with an automatic rifle on the last day of Passover, killed one person, Lori Gilbert Kaye, and injured three, including the synagogue rabbi and a child. He turned himself into police following the shooting and pleaded guilty to federal and state charges this year.

The guilty pleas allowed John Earnest to avoid a death sentence, and at his state sentencing on Thursday, he received life without parole. His federal sentencing will take place in December.

“He will be erased from history,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “What will remain is the name of Lori Gilbert Kaye and all of the heroes that jumped into save life that day.”

The shooting took place exactly six months after a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people at prayer. It was the first of three fatal antisemitic attacks in 2019. In December of that year, assailants killed Jews in Jersey City, New Jersey and Monsey, New York.

Before the sentencing, relatives of Gilbert Kaye addressed the court. Ellen Edwards, her sister, called her “an amazing wife, mother, sister and friend.”

“What do you say in front of the person who killed my sister?” she said, according to Yahoo News. “I hate you. That just doesn’t seem enough.”

Ben Sales
Ben Sales

JTA reporter

JTA

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