Neither peace, nor protection


Photo courtesy of izrailit, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Synagogues all over the world have felt the fear, as well of the loss that came from Earnest’s gun. With up to 6.8 million Jews in the United States, the event in California has certainly frightened many.

Olivia Semple, Staffer

Synagogues are houses of Jewish and Samaritan worship, as well as a symbol of peace and protection for many of its attendees. All of this tranquility was shattered on April 27, 2019 when a 19-year-old male barged into a Californian synagogue holding an AR-type gun.

The synagogue was packed, the last day of Passover, a religious holiday that takes place over the span of a week, drawing in an audience. John T. Earnest fired off 8 rounds, hitting Lori Kaye, a 60-year-old woman, twice before turning towards a group of children. In an attempt to protect his niece, as well as other kids, Almog Peretz threw himself in front of the group. Peretz and his niece, eight years of age, suffered shrapnel wounds.

Determined to cause more damage, Earnest prepared to fire again, but his gun malfunctioned. Earnest fled the scene, driving wildly in his getaway car. Several people pursued him, including an off duty patrol officer.

The officer fired at Earnest’s car, hitting it. However, Earnest escaped and went unseen for a few hours until he called 911. He told the authorities of what he had done and where they could find him.

When the police arrived, Earnest handed himself over without any issue. When the news of the shooting hit the press, Earnest’s friends and family were shocked. A straight-A student, a varsity swimmer, and an overall well-rounded kid, no one could have imagined whom he would become.

Infatuated with Hitler, as well as the recent mosque shootings, Earnest was inspired. Through an online posting, Earnest displayed his hatred for Jews as well as his “intent to harm Jews” according to one of his followers.

This story is just another example of why we need to be more aware. If you are struggling, talk to someone. Countless kids, good students, and well-rounded teens are turning anger into deathly violence. People whom you would never expect may be considering following Earnest’s path. In this day and age where shootings grace headlines daily, you can never be too careful. Eyes open, CT.