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LAPD monitoring area synagogues after San Diego County shooting

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L.A. police have stepped up patrols around the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Koreatown and other places of worship after a shooting Saturday at a Poway synagogue.
(Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department said Saturday that it has increased its presence around area synagogues and other places of worship after a deadly shooting in a San Diego county synagogue.

“At this time there’s no nexus to Los Angeles,” the LAPD tweeted Saturday afternoon. “But in an abundance of caution, we will conduct high visibility patrols around synagogues and other houses of worship.”

Police said they were closely monitoring the shooting in Poway and “communicating with our local, state and federal partners.”

On Saturday, LAPD patrol cars sat outside the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Koreatown and Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Hancock Park, on guard.

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Authorities said a gunman walked into a suburban San Diego County synagogue around 11:20 a.m armed with a semiautomatic rifle. He opened fire on the congregation, killing one person and injuring three others in an attack that authorities believe was motivated by hate.

The suspect, who is white, was identified as 19-year-old John T. Earnest, a Rancho Peñasquitos resident. He was arrested and is being questioned by homicide detectives.

San Diego police were keeping watch on other local synagogues as a precaution. “No known threats,” Chief David Nisleit said on Twitter, “however in an abundance of caution, we will be providing extra patrol at places of worship.”

Siamak Kordestani, assistant director of the Los Angeles office of the American Jewish Committee, urged elected officials to work together with communities and law enforcement to combat the trend of violence against houses of worship.

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“We cannot let racists, xenophobes, and domestic terrorists destroy our social fabric,” Kordestani said.

In a prepared statement, the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., said she was “shocked and alarmed” at the second armed attack on a synagogue in the United States in six months, this time on the last day of Passover.

“Now our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield said. “But moving forward this must serve as yet another wake-up call that antisemitism is a growing and deadly menace.”

For more California breaking news, follow @AngelJennings. She can also be reached at angel.jennings@latimes.com.


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