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Suspected Poway Synagogue Shooter Used Hunting License To Buy AR-15

San Diego Guns shown in this undated photo near Mission Valley.

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: San Diego Guns shown in this undated photo near Mission Valley.

More than 300 pages of recently unsealed search warrant records relating to the April shooting at a Poway synagogue are providing a clearer picture of what the alleged shooter did in the weeks leading up to the attack that killed one person and injured three others.

They show he purchased an AR-15 rifle at a local gun store even though he was only 19. In California, that is too young to buy a rifle or a shotgun under a new state law, which says you have to be at least 21 to buy those types of firearms. However, the law grants exceptions to buyers under 21 if they've served in the military, are in law enforcement or have a hunting license.

The search warrants said investigators found a "hunting certificate" in the alleged shooter's home. And the owner of San Diego Guns in Mission Valley, where the firearm was bought, told KPBS Thursday that the suspect used a hunting license to buy the Smith and Wesson assault rifle.

Federal prosecutors said the gun was picked up just a day before the shooting. California has a mandatory 10-day waiting period for all firearms purchases — meaning the suspect may have bought it around April 16th.

Reported by Roland Lizarondo

RELATED: Warrants Unveil New Details In Poway Synagogue Shooting

The search warrants also show how the alleged attacker was able to get other items used in the attack by simply shopping on Amazon. The online retailer shipped a military-style helmet, ammunition vest and duffel bag to the suspect's home in the weeks leading up to the shooting. Also, by using Amazon to buy the items, the suspect did not have to go to a store, where he might have been caught on surveillance cameras or seen by witnesses, investigators said.

In addition, there are indications the suspect wanted to live stream his attack. A GoPro camera, which was also bought on Amazon, was attached to the helmet found inside the suspect's car after the shooting. Investigators found text messages referencing a March mass shooting in New Zealand that also targeted a place of worship. In the messages, the suspect was upset that he could not watch a live stream of the New Zealand attack.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.


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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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