April 27, 2019 (Poway, California) At 11:33 San Diego Sheriffs Dispatch got a call for an active shooter at the Chabad Temple in Rancho Bernardo. This is the last day of Passover, and the temple was well attended. From what we know, as of five in the afternoon, detectives were still doing witness interviews inside the temple.
The shooter was a 19-year-old male. We will not identify by name or any other identifier. We know plenty of media do this, but we know that what they seek is to be known and have a reputation. If you wish for this detail, there are plenty of media outlets who have not decided to do this yet. Even though the Associated Press has had stories on this.
Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama, who has studied the influence of media coverage on future shooters, said it’s vitally important to avoid excessive coverage of gunmen.
“A lot of these shooters want to be treated like celebrities. They want to be famous. So the key is to not give them that treatment,” he said
There were four people transported to Palomar Medical Center, a nearby hospital. Two adult males, one was the Rabbi, an older woman, and a juvenile. According to the San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, during a media briefing, the two males were stable, though one went to surgery. The juvenile was later transported to Rady’s Children Hospital, and the older woman died at the hospital from her injuries.
The victims are Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who is in surgery. He could lose an index finger. 34-year-old Almog Peretz, who also protected many of the children with his body. The name of the juvenile has not been released. And lastly 60-year-old Lori Kaye, who was identified by friends. She passed at the hospital from her injuries.
An off duty Border Patrol agent, who works security at the Synagogue, engaged the shooter as he was leaving, The shooter used an AR-15, according to Sheriff Gore. The Border Patrol officer fired one round and hit the vehicle as it fled the scene. However, he did not hit the suspect.
The suspect then called the California Highway Patrol 911 dispatch and confessed to being the shooter. He was apprehended by a responding San Diego Police K-9 who was monitoring the Sheriffs Dispatch.
This investigation now includes whether the shooter was actually involved in the Escondido mosque fire, that happened about a month ago. The investigation now involves the San Diego Sheriffs, the FBI, the ATF, San Diego PD, and Escondido PD. Other agencies that responded include the California Office of Emergency Services and both the Poway and San Diego Fire Departments.
This event is being investigated as a targeted attack, and the suspect will likely face hate crime charges as well. He had no contact with law enforcement until today.
Like every other event like this, the first question is what was the motive? We know the shooter was a 19-year-old, who posted a manifesto on 8Chan which has similar lines to that of the shooter in New Zealand.
From the manifesto, which again we will not link to, one can gather that this young man is a white supremacist. He holds ideas that have a common thread to the white identarian movement, and I did ask Sheriff Gore if there were any links to white supremacist groups in San Diego Country. Suffice it to say, San Diego County has a heavy presence of Identity Evropa, which the Union-Tribune found in a local investigation.
The suspect said that he was a local college student. Sheriff Gore said that they were still trying to confirm if he is a student or not, which California State University San Marcos already did. This is what the UT ran regarding Identity Evropa.
A Union-Tribune review of the chat logs reveals a local branch of Identity Evropa has visited local colleges at least a dozen times since Fall 2017, though flyers first appeared at San Diego State University the year before. The chat logs also refer to publicity and recruitment activities at Southern California colleges as recently as last month.
The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Identity Evropa a hate group, and the Anti-Defamation League categorizes it as a white supremacist organization.
This was one of the reasons I asked the question. The Sheriff said that so far they have no evidence of connections with any of these groups. However, the shooter was a student at California State University San Marcos, where Identity Evropa has been active. This was released by the Campus President:
I am deeply saddened and stunned by the senseless act of violence and hate that occurred this morning at Chabad of Poway, when a shooter opened fire on the congregation, resulting in the death of at least one individual and injuring others. We are heartbroken by this tragedy, which was motivated by hate and anti-Semitism.
We extend our deepest condolences to all of the victims, their families, friends and our entire community. We share your grief. This despicable act is entirely against our values as a University, particularly given that many in our community are preparing to observe Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on May 1.
We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and reject the rhetoric of divisiveness that feeds hatred.We are dismayed and disheartened that the alleged shooter — now in custody — is a CSUSM student. CSUSM is working collaboratively with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to assist and gain more information.
Please remember that CSUSM offers a range of services to students who need support, including assistance from Student Health and Counseling Services [t.e2ma.net]. In addition, the Cougar Care Network and SOAR [t.e2ma.net] can provide information about on- and off-campus resources. For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program [t.e2ma.net] is available at 800–367–7474. The Office of University Ombuds [t.e2ma.net] offers confidential and neutral assistance.As a university community, we know that our diversity makes us stronger.
Today’s reprehensible actions do not define us. They never will. We stand united against hatred as we work toward a better, more peaceful world.
One common line between Identity Evropa and the manifesto is the idea that whites will be replaced by other races. In particular, as we saw in Charlottesville, the line “Jews will not replace us.” There is also the deep-rooted conspiracy theory that Jews intend to commit genocide on whites and that there is an occupation government in place.
If the shooter is not a direct member of a local hate group, he was radicalized with the same white identarian ideology. Given that his manifesto was first posted on 8Chan, a well-known conspiracy site with white supremacy leanings. This tells me that he is a White Supremacist.
According to the National Post:
Based on labyrinthine and anonymous comment threads, 8chan, which has allowed users to post child porn and pro-Nazi material, was founded by Fredrick Brennan, a user of similar site 4chan, in 2013. It is now owned by American Jim Watkins, who is said to be based in the Philippines.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, where users who post hate speech are often banned, 4chan and — to an even more extreme degree — 8chan are very light on moderation.
8chan was spawned by #GamerGate, a long-running episode in which forums were frequently used to “dox” and harass female video game enthusiasts who were pushing back against sexism in their industry.
These two sites, together with Stormfront, the granddaddy of these sites, and Gab, provide a place for people to self radicalize. The process is well known and not unlike what we have seen among Islamic State members.