Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre: Hate crime charges against Jew-hater terrorist
Federal prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against the Jew-hater terrorist who opened fire on a packed Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, shouting ‘all Jews must die’ as he sprayed Jewish worshippers with bullets during a Brit Milah ceremony and Shabbat services, murdering 11 people and wounding 6 others, including 4 police officers.
Robert Bowers, 46, of suburban Baldwin, surrendered to authorities after the shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue.
He made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting and targeted Jews in posts on social media that are a focus of the investigation, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Bowers faces 29 charges in all in a rampage that left the historic Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, and the rest of the world stunned.
The attack was the deadliest on the Jewish community in US history, the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement.
“These incidents usually occur in other cities,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters Saturday afternoon. “Today, the nightmare has hit home in the city of Pittsburgh.”
Bowers is charged with 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and multiple counts of two hate crimes: obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer, authorities said, citing a criminal complaint, which is sealed.
“The crimes of violence are based upon the federal civil rights laws prohibiting hate crimes,” US Attorney Scott W. Brady and Bob Jones, FBI special agent in charge of Pittsburgh office, said in a statement.
None of the victims have been named. Police revealed on Saturday afternoon that all of those killed were adults and that no children were harmed.
Six people were injured, including a 70-year-old man who is undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds and a 61-year-old woman who is expected to survive.
Three of four injured cops are likely to survive but a fourth, a 55-year-old law enforcement officer, is in a critical condition.
Hundreds of people filled the streets outside the Jewish Community Center in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood Saturday night at a candle-light vigil for victims of the synagogue massacre.
Teary-eyed people embraced as others sang hymns.
State Rep. Dan Frankel, who has served the Squirrel Hill district for more than 20 years, said he was not surprised by the large showing of solidarity at the evening vigil, which was organized by young members of the community.
“Squirrel Hill is a diverse community that embraces tolerance with a passion,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack.
The Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, reacted to the shooting attack: “The Jewish state mourns with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh over this horrific attack. May God avenge their blood. To all the anti-Semites out there on Twitter: Am Yisrael Chai! (the people of Israel live),” he Tweeted.
President Donald Trump called Robert Bowles “pure evil”. “This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don’t seem to learn from the past,” Trump said during a rally in Indianapolis.
“There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice”
“We are praying for the families of the victims and our hearts go out to the wounded law enforcement officers in Pittsburgh”, President Trump said.
Trump ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff on all federal buildings nationwide “as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated at The Tree of Life Synagogue”. The order will be in effect until sunset on October 31.
Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett will be traveling to Pittsburgh. “I am going to offer strength to the community and its leaders, and to examine how we can offer assistance,” he said.
“When Jews are murdered in Pittsburgh, the people of Israel feel pain. All Israel are responsible for one another,” Bennett said.
The city hall building in Tel Aviv lit up with an American flag to show solidarity with the American people.