Prosecutors presented disturbing surveillance video in a court hearing Thursday related to the deadly shooting at a California shul on the last day of Pesach.
The video shows the gunman storming the house of worship and targeting congregants with an assault riffle, killing a woman and injuring three others.
The video was presented as evidence in a preliminary hearing for 20-year-old John Earnest, who is charged with murder and attempted murder for allegedly killing Chabad of Poway synagogue member Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and shooting other worshipers, including an 8-year-old girl.
Earnest has been charged with a hate crime, which could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted. The multi-day hearing will ultimately decide if Earnest will face trial or not.
Prosecutors played a 12-minute recording of a gunman calmly telling a 911 dispatcher that he had just fired an assault rifle inside a synagogue to save white people from Jews, describing terms for a peaceful surrender and scolding law enforcement for taking too much time to find him in his parked car.
John T. Earnest, 20, sat stone-faced with his arms folded on his lap during hours of testimony at a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a judge to order him to stand trial on charges of murder, attempted murder and arson.
One woman was killed in the lobby of Chabad of Poway synagogue and three people were wounded during a service on April 27, the last day of Passover. Earnest has pleaded not guilty.
“I’m defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people,” the caller, who identified himself as John Earnest, told the dispatcher in an even, almost casual tone.
Earnest gave details of where he was waiting for police in his Honda Civic. He promised to leave his AR-15 assault rifle on the passenger seat and get out of the car with a supply of bullets hanging on the chest of his vest, as if his surrender had been planned in advance.
As the caller spoke about his hatred of Jews, another dispatcher steered him back to describing where he was. He readily answered all questions.
Upset at how long the police were taking, he said “You guys are taking a long-*** time. You realize you’re fighting the wrong people?”.