Suspected Gunman Calls 911 After His Attack on a Poway Synagogue Claiming to ‘Defend My Nation'

GRAPHIC VIDEO WARNING: The following phone call contains graphic language that may not be suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Moments after the suspected gunman opened fire on a Poway synagogue in April, he called 911 to report his attack.

On Thursday, that phone call was played in its entirety during a preliminary hearing for suspect John T. Earnest, 20.

Earnest faces murder and attempted murder charges, both with hate-crime and gun allegations, and arson of a house of worship in connection with the April 27 shooting and the March 24 fire at an Escondido mosque.

He also faces more than 110 federal charges.

The following is a transcription of the phone call between Earnest, a 911 dispatcher with CHP, and an official with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

CHP: (Unintelligible.) Hello, 911?

Earnest: Yeah, I just shot up a synagogue. I’m in my car right now.

CHP: Are you the suspect?

Earnest: What’s that?

CHP: You said that you what?

Earnest: I just shot up a synagogue. I’m defending my country. I’m in my car. You should come get me. I’m driving.

CHP: Where are you at?

Earnest: Uh, Rancho Bernardo. I’m on Bernardo Center Drive right now. I’m still driving right now.

CHP: Okay, where you’re at, pull over.

Earnest: Sure.

CHP: Where are you pulling over at?

Earnest: Um, you can track it -- you guys can track my phone, right?

CHP: Okay, you’re calling from (Phone Number)?

Earnest: Yeah.

CHP: What is your – what’s your name?

Earnest: John Earnest.

CHP: John, and your last name is Earnest?

Earnest: Yes.

CHP: And where are you pulling over at?

Earnest: I can’t pull over right now.

CHP: Where – where are you at?

Earnest: I’m in Rancho Bernardo.

CHP: Where at, though? (Long pause.) Where – where in Rancho Bernardo?

Earnest: I don’t know.

CHP: Do you know what street you’re on?

Earnest: Nope.

CHP: What kind of car are you in?

Earnest: Honda Civic 2012.

CHP: What – what color Honda Civic are you in?

Earnest: Grey.

CHP: Do you still have weapons on you?

Earnest: They’re in my car, but I won’t use them. I’ll get out of my car when I see you guys. Oh, I see you guys right now. Hold up, I’m gonna pull over.

(Long pause.)

(Police sirens.)

CHP: Who borrowed my log? Okay.

Earnest: You guys just passed me.

CHP: Hey, hey, Erica, Erica, Erica, give me, somebody filed my log. Can you let Sheriff’s know that the suspect is not gonna fire on… a – they just passed him. He’s in a grey Honda Civic. He’s getting out of his vehicle. He will not fire on ‘em. H- hello, John?

Earnest: Yeah?

CHP: Okay, hold on one moment.

(Long pause.)

CHP: Okay, John, um, do you know where you’re at?

Earnest: Yeah. I’m right by West Bernardo Drive. I’m on Rancho Bernardo Road, though.

CHP: You’re on West Bernardo?

Earnest: I’m right by the crossing, yeah.

CHP: And what kind of weapons do you have on you, John?

Earnest: I have an AR-15 and a Wesson M&P-15. (Unintelligible.) My weapons will be left inside the car.

CHP: And what kind of vest do you have on?

Earnest: Oh, it’s just a chest rig.

CHP: A what?

Earnest: It’s a chest rig with ammunition.

CHP: Are you military?

Earnest: No, I am not. I’m just trying to defend my nation from the Jewish – the Jewish people.

CHP: How old are you, John?

Earnest: 19. They’re destroying our people. I’m trying to show them that we’re not gonna go down without a fight. We’re not gonna – (Unintelligible.)

CHP: Okay, John. I’m gonna try to get you retransferred over to San Diego Sheriff’s Depar-

(Long pause.)

CHP: John, what – do you see any buildings around you?

Earnest: Yeah.

CHP: What do you see?

Earnest: Sonic, gas station, 7-Eleven.

(Long pause.)

CHP: I’m sorry, you’re across from where? What kind of gas station?

Earnest: Uh, there’s a Chevron on one side and, uh, 76, it says?

CHP: And you said that there’s a 7-Eleven nearby?

Earnest: Yeah. Man, you guys take a long-ass time. (Long pause.) You realize you’re fighting with the wrong people, right? You’re serving a government that’s gonna kill all of you.

CHP: Okay, John, stay on the line. What I’m gonna do – I’m gonna try to get you transferred over to the Sheriff’s Department, okay? Hold on one moment for me, okay?

(Long pause.)

CHP: Hey C- uh, this is CHP. I have your suspect on landline of, uh, shots fired.

SDSD: What’s the location?

CHP: John, go ahead and talk. Sheriff’s on the line.

Earnest: There’s the crossroads between West Bernardo Drive and, I believe, Rancho Bernardo Road. Right by a 7-Eleven and a Chevron and a 76.

SDSD: Hello, 911?

CHP: Sheriff’s, this – this is CHP. Your suspect is on the line. Go ahead.

SDSD: Hi, this is the Sheriff’s Department.

Earnest: Yeah.

SDSD: What’s your name?

Earnest: John Earnest.

SDSD: What’s going on?

Earnest: I’m defending my nation against the Jewish people who are trying to destroy all white people.

SDSD: Where are you right now?

Earnest: I’m at the intersection of West Bernardo Drive and Rancho Bernardo Road.

SDSD: West Bernardo and what?

Earnest: I believe it’s Rancho Bernardo Road. I can’t see it, though.

SDSD: So, you’re at Bernardo and Rancho Bernardo?

Earnest: No, I’m at the intersection of West Bernardo Drive and Rancho Bernardo Road. I believe it’s Rancho Bernardo Road, but I can’t see it -- it’s on the side.

SDSD: Are you in a vehicle?

Earnest: Yes, I am.

SDSD: What kind of car are you in?

Earnest: Do you guys not have the ability to –

SDSD: What kind of vehicle are you in?

Earnest: To locate my phone?

SDSD: What kind of vehicle are you in?

Earnest: Honda Civic, 2012, grey.

SDSD: What weapons do you have?

Earnest: AR-15, Smith and Wesson M&P-15 – in the passenger seat. I’m not gonna use it.

SDSD: Okay, are there any officers with you right now?

Earnest: No, there are not. (Unintelligible.)

SDSD: Okay, are you stopped or moving?

Earnest: I am stopped. I’ve been here for a long-ass time.

SDSD: And you’re inside the vehicle right now?

Earnest: Yes, I am.

SDSD: Are you at the intersection or are you in a driveway somewhere or?

Earnest: I’m on the side of the road. Yeah, I’m pretty much as close to a business you’re next to – the 76 gas station and also a Phil’s BBQ.

SDSD: And what clothing are you wearing?

Earnest: Uh, I’m wearing – (Unintelligible.) Pants, brown shirt, chest rig, wear glasses.

SDSD: Are you wearing a hat?

Earnest: Nope. Brown hair.

SDSD: Okay, and I want to make sure that you’re stopped there, right?

Earnest: Yes. Jesus Christ, you guys suck at your job.

SDSD: So, what happened?

Earnest: I opened fire at a synagogue. I think I killed some people. Another man returned fire with a pistol. He sucked ass though. He didn’t hit me at all. Went back in my car – drove away.

SDSD: Are you injured?

Earnest: I don’t think so.

SDSD: And where exactly are the guns right now?

Earnest: Uh, there’s only one gun. It’s in my passenger seat.

SDSD: Is the gun loaded right now?

Earnest: I believe not.

SDSD: Do you have extra ammo for that gun?

Earnest: I do. It’s on my chest rig right now. Once I see you guys, I’m gonna get out of my car. I will have the chest rig on with the ammo, but the gun will be left inside the car.

SDSD: Okay, can you take that chest rig off?

Earnest: I mean, it’s pretty hard. I can take the ammo out of it.

SDSD: Why don’t you do that. (Pause.) And what’s your first name again?

Earnest: John. (Sighs.)

SDSD: Last name?

Earnest: Earnest. E-A.

SDSD: What’s your birthday?

Earnest: June 8, 1999.

SDSD: Anybody else in the car with you?

Earnest: Nope, just me.

SDSD: Okay. Why’d you do it?

Earnest: Because the Jewish people are destroying the white race – they have been for a long time, and no one’s doing anything about it. Something has to be done.

SDSD: All right. Which direction is your vehicle facing?

Earnest: It’s facing… Dude, I don’t fucking know.

SDSD: Do you know which direction, like –

Earnest: To the right of me –

SDSD: North or south or west?

Earnest: To the right of me is a Phil’s BBQ.

SDSD: Okay.

Earnest: Oh, I see one of your cars.

(Long pause.)

San Diego Police Department Officer Jonathan Wiese (in background): On the ground! (Unintelligible.) On your stomach! Hands behind your back!


Contact Us