SAN DIEGO - The 19-year-old suspect in last month's shooting at a southern California synagogue has been charged with more than 100 federal hate crimes and civil rights violations.
John Earnest has already pleaded not guilty to state murder and attempted murder charges in connection with the April 27 attack on the Chabad of Poway,
The additional 109 federal charges filed Thursday include 54 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and bodily injury and involving the attempt to kill.
"That's one count for every person in the synagogue on April 27, including 12 children," Robert Brewer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, said, adding that each of the counts is "death penalty-eligible."
Earnest also faces 54 federal hate crime charges for each person in the synagogue and one charge of damage to religious property in connection to a fire at a mosque in Escondido, California.
One person was killed and three others wounded, including an 8-year-old girl and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was leading a service on the last day of Passover, a major Jewish holiday.
Goldstein lost his right index finger when he held up his hands as the suspect opened fire.
Police say Earnest carried into the synagogue an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle fully loaded with a 10-round magazine.
After he fled, Earnest called 911 from his car.
"I just shot up a synagogue," Earnest told the dispatcher. "I'm just trying to defend my nation against the Jewish people. They're destroying our people."
Investigators have said Earnest wrote an anti-Semitic manifesto on social media sometime before the shooting, in which he praised those accused of the deadly New Zealand mosque attacks in March, and the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018.