Man pleads not guilty in deadly Poway synagogue attack

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SAN DIEGO — A man charged with a deadly Passover shooting at a Southern California synagogue has pleaded not guilty to murder.

John Earnest entered pleas Thursday in San Diego to an updated complaint accusing him of hate crime-related murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Prosecutors say the 20-year-old nursing student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego County on April 27 during a Passover service. The attack killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounded three others, including an 8-year-old girl and the rabbi, who lost a finger.

Earnest then reportedly called 911 to say he had shot up a synagogue because Jews were trying to “destroy all white people.”

Earnest also is charged with setting a fire at a mosque in March. Nobody was hurt.

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