(JTA) — The FBI was tipped off to a threat about five minutes before the deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, but it was too late to stop the attack.
The agency said in a statement first provided to The Associated Press that information came through its tip website and phone line about the threatening message posted by the alleged shooter to social media. The tip included a link to the message, but no specific information about the post’s author or where he was located.
The FBI said it immediately began trying to locate the author of the post but that the shooting took place before he could be identified.
AP spoke to one of the tipsters, who said he called the FBI at 11:15 a.m. Saturday after seeing a post containing a link to a manifesto in which the author said he had set fire to a mosque in nearby Escondido weeks earlier. The tipster said that when he saw articles online confirming that the mosque attack had occurred, he called the FBI because he thought the new threat was real.
The FBI statement thanked the “alert citizens” who reported the post, according to The New York Times.
John Earnest, 19, of San Diego was charged Sunday with one count of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in the synagogue shooting.