One Killed, Three Injured in Shooting at San Diego-Area Synagogue
A 19-year-old faces murder charges after authorities said he opened fire inside a San Diego-area synagogue as worshipers celebrated the final day of Passover, killing one and wounding three. John Earnest is accused of entering the Chabad of Poway synagogue (pictured) in California on April 27 with an AR-15 rifle and fatally shooting a woman, 60, and injuring a rabbi, a man visiting from Israel, and a 9-year-old girl. An off-duty Border Patrol agent chased Earnest after he left the synagogue and fired shots that hit his vehicle. Earnest was arrested after reporting himself to 911, the sheriff’s department said. Police said Earnest posted a manifesto containing anti-Semitic rhetoric and listing Brenton Tarrant, who killed 50 in attacks to New Zealand mosques, and Robert Bowers, who killed 11 at a Pittsburgh-area synagogue, as inspiration. Earnest also claimed responsibility for a fire at a nearby mosque in March. The synagogue shooting occurred about one week after bombings killed more than 250 and injured at least 500 at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on April 21, Easter Sunday.
2 Wisconsin Residents Plead Guilty to Trying to Support ISIS
Two Milwaukee-area residents recently admitted that they attempted to assist ISIS in unrelated cases. Waheba Issa Dais, 46, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization on April 22. Dais used hacked Facebook accounts to pledge her allegiance to ISIS, communicate with other supporters, attempt to recruit for the group, and distribute information regarding explosives and biological weapons, including instructions to build an explosive belt and TNT and a recipe for Ricin. She also used encrypted social media channels to encourage supporters who could not travel to conduct attacks in their home countries. Yosvany Padilla-Conde, 30, pleaded guilty on April 22 to aiding and abetting another man’s attempt at traveling to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS in 2016. He drove the other man, Jason Ludke, to Mexico believing they could evade US authorities but were taken into custody. Padilla-Conde posted videos online pledging allegiance to ISIS and describing his intentions to travel to the Middle East. Dais and Padilla-Conde each face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
White Supremacist Involved in 1998 Dragging Death Inspiring Hate Crime Legislation is Executed
One of three white supremacists whose racially motivated murder of a black man 21 years ago led to federal and state hate crime legislation was executed at a Texas prison on April 24. John William King, 44, was put to death by lethal injection for his role in the dragging death of 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. on June 7, 1998. King and two other white men offered Byrd a ride in their truck in Jasper, Texas, as he walked to his apartment. They took Byrd to the woods instead, assaulting him and chaining him by the ankles to the back of the truck. The men dragged Byrd across an isolated road for 3 miles before picking up what remained of his body and dumping it in front of a black church. The vehicle’s driver, Shawn Berry, 44, is serving a life sentence in prison, while Lawrence Brewer was executed on September 21, 2011. The incident inspired hate crime legislation, including the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act signed into Texas state law in 2001 and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into federal law by President Barack Obama in 2009.