Federal prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against a Pennsylvania man they say stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened fire, killing 11 people.
Robert Bowers, 46, of suburban Baldwin, surrendered to authorities after Saturday morning’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. He made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting and targeted Jews on social media, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Bowers faces 29 charges in a rampage that left the historic Jewish neighbourhood of Squirrel Hill and the rest of the nation stunned. The attack is believed to be 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. “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 the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer, authorities said, citing a sealed criminal complaint.
“The crimes of violence are based upon the federal civil rights laws prohibiting hate crimes,” said Scott Brady, US Attorney, and Bob Jones, the FBI special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh office, in a statement. Read more