Police in San Diego county in California have named a 19-year-old man held for questioning following a shooting at a synagogue on Saturday that left one woman dead and at least three injured.

Iran Press/America: Authorities identified the suspect in the shooting in the city of Poway, just over 20 miles (30km) north of San Diego, as John Earnest. The San Diego county sheriff, William Gore, said Earnest was from the city of San Diego and had no prior arrests.

Gore said Earnest used an “AR-style” semi-automatic rifle. There were indications that the gun might have malfunctioned after firing numerous rounds inside the synagogue, the sheriff said.

As the shooter fled, an off-duty Border Patrol agent inside the synagogue opened fire, missing him but striking his getaway vehicle, Gore said.

According to a Guardian report, Earnest called 911 shortly afterward to report the shooting, the San Diego police chief, David Nisleit, said. When an officer reached the man on a roadway, “the suspect pulled over, jumped out of his car with his hands up and was immediately taken into custody”, Nisleit said.

Gore said four people were struck by gunfire and taken to the Palomar medical centre, where one of the victims, an “older woman”, died. The three other patients – “two adult males” and a “female juvenile” – were in a stable condition. The identities of the victims were not given.

The fatality was first confirmed by the mayor of Poway, Steve Vaus, who called the incident a “hate crime”.

The community was targeted by “someone with hate in their heart ... towards our Jewish community and that just will not stand”, Vaus said on MSNBC.

Vaus also reported that a rabbi was shot in the hand, and that members of the congregation engaged the gunman. “Those brave people certainly prevented this from being a much worse tragedy,” he said.

The incident came on the last day of Passover and exactly six months since a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people.



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