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Crime: California man to be sentenced for fatal synagogue attack

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 22-year-old former nursing student will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 28, 2019, file photo, a San Diego County sheriff's deputy stands in front of the Chabad of Poway synagogue, in Poway, Calif. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into the synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, April 28, 2019, file photo, a San Diego County sheriff's deputy stands in front of the Chabad of Poway synagogue, in Poway, Calif. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into the synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

An agreement with prosecutors that spares John T. Earnest the death penalty leaves little suspense about the outcome, but the hearing will give victims and families their first opportunity to address the killer directly. About 15 to 20 people were expected to deliver victim-impact statements in San Diego Superior Court.

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FILE - In this June 26, 2019, file photo, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, senior rabbi of Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, addresses the United Nations General Assembly's meeting on combating antisemitism and other forms of racism and hate in the digital age at U.N. headquarters. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into the Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this June 26, 2019, file photo, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, senior rabbi of Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, addresses the United Nations General Assembly's meeting on combating antisemitism and other forms of racism and hate in the digital age at U.N. headquarters. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into the Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Minutes after the shooting, Earnest called a 911 dispatcher to say he shot up the synagogue to save white people. “I’m defending our nation against the Jewish people, who are trying to destroy all white people,” he said.

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The San Diego man admired the gunman who killed dozens of worshippers at two New Zealand mosques shortly before he attacked Chabad of Poway, a synagogue near San Diego, on April 27, 2019. He frequented 8chan, a dark corner of the internet, for those disaffected by mainstream social media sites to post extremist, racist and violent views.

FILE - In this April 29, 2019, file photo, Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, holds a yellow rose as he speaks at the funeral for Lori Kaye, who is pictured at left, in Poway, Calif. Kaye, who was was killed April 27, 2019, when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, had given Goldstein the flower as part of a bouquet the day before the shooting, which also injured Goldstein. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parolee for the shooting. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this April 29, 2019, file photo, Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, holds a yellow rose as he speaks at the funeral for Lori Kaye, who is pictured at left, in Poway, Calif. Kaye, who was was killed April 27, 2019, when a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue, had given Goldstein the flower as part of a bouquet the day before the shooting, which also injured Goldstein. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parolee for the shooting. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Earnest legally bought a semi-automatic rifle in San Diego a day before the attack, according to a federal affidavit. He entered the synagogue with 10 bullets loaded and 50 more on his vest but fled after struggling to reload.

Victim impact statements to begin in Poway synagogue shooting sentencing

  Victim impact statements to begin in Poway synagogue shooting sentencing A young man who pleaded guilty to storming a Poway, California, synagogue and opening fire is set to be sentenced on Thursday. John Earnest will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for gunning down 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injuring three others, including a child, at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego County in April 2019. The attack took place in the synagogue's lobby during Saturday morning services, on the last day of Passover.

Earnest killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert, who was hit twice as she prayed in the foyer, and wounded an 8-year-old girl, her uncle and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was leading a service on the major Jewish holiday.

The Earnest family issued a statement after the shooting expressing shock and sadness, calling their son's actions a “terrifying mystery.” Their son was an accomplished student, athlete and musician who was studying to be a nurse at California State University, San Marcos.

“(Our) sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people,” they wrote. “To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”

“Our son's actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold,” the family said. “Like our five other children, he was raised in a family, a faith, and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do.”

Earnest also faces sentencing in federal court on Dec. 28. He pleaded guilty to federal charges after the Justice Department said it wouldn't seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are recommending a life sentence.

Chabad of Poway Shooter Avoids Death Penalty, Sentenced to Life in Prison for Attack

  Chabad of Poway Shooter Avoids Death Penalty, Sentenced to Life in Prison for Attack The former nursing student entered a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle, killing one person and injuring three others.John T. Earnest, a 22-year-old former nursing student, burst into a Southern California synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle, killing one person and wounding three others.

FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, John T. Earnest appears for his arraignment hearing in San Diego. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, John T. Earnest appears for his arraignment hearing in San Diego. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File) FILE - In this Tuesday, April 30, 2019, file photo, Judge Joseph P. Brannigan looks on during the arraignment hearing for John T. Earnest in San Diego. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, April 30, 2019, file photo, Judge Joseph P. Brannigan looks on during the arraignment hearing for John T. Earnest in San Diego. On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, John T. Earnest, a former nursing student, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for bursting into a synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019 with a semiautomatic rifle to kill one worshipper and injure three others. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Man Sentenced to Up to 10 Years for Shooting Into Car of Black Teens After Trump Rally .
Michael McKinney pleaded guilty in June to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury for the shooting after a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Prosecutors additionally charged McKinney earlier with attempted murder, assault while participating in a felony, reckless use of a firearm and going armed with intent. The judge noted McKinney's lack of criminal history and honorable discharge from the military, and ordered two sentences to run concurrently for a maximum of 10 years. There is no mandatory minimum for McKinney to serve before he becomes eligible for parole.

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