Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers: What we know about alleged Pittsburgh gunman

The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Pa Modal Trigger The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Pa. Google Maps
Charlie Simmons | 28 October, 2018, 07:16

Officials identified the suspect in Saturday's shooting as 48-year-old Robert Bowers.

A gunman faces 29 federal charges of violent crimes after he opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony at a synagogue in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh on Saturday, killing 11 people and injuring six in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent United States history.

According to officials, the suspect was armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle.

President Trump addresses supporters in IL following the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

In a deadly "anti-Semitic attack", at least 11 people were killed and several were injured after a gunman opened fire at Pittsburgh synagogue during a religious service on Saturday.

The man arrested in the mass shooting Saturday at a Pennsylvania synagogue appears to have made virulently anti-Semitic posts on a social media platform popular with far-right extremists, including one made shortly before the attack.

"Screw your optics, I'm going in", he wrote.

A counterterrorism official briefed on the probe says they are looking at Bowers' social media profiles, looking at what he allegedly posted and his conversations.

He also says the crime scene is one of the worst many professionals have seen.

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A CNN report said one of the officers was listed in critical condition.

HIAS is a non-profit group that helps refugees around the world find safety and freedom. The suspect was reportedly injured when he surrendered after exchanging gunfire with police.

Speaking to reporters before boarding his flight to IN earlier IN the day, Trump called the suspected shooter "a wacko" and a "maniac". The tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the hub of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. "This neighborhood is also one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in the USA and as a Christian community we are standing in solidarity with our Jewish friends and family who, too often, are the victims of violence and hate speech". Members of the Tree of Life synagogue "conducting a peaceful service in their place of worship were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith", he said.

Michael Eisenberg, former president of the synagogue, told KDKA that police were normally only present at the synagogue for security on high holidays.

In previous mass shootings, Trump has at times said he would consider tightening certain gun controls but in the main has called for more armed guards in places such as schools.

There are three simultaneous Shabbat services in the main part of the building, he said.

The man who allegedly opened fire on worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in what is likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in USA history acted alone, authorities said. "As a conservative Jewish congregation, Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha remains true to traditional teachings, yet is also progressive and relevant to the way we live today". The attack is being considered as a hate crime and will be a federal investigation.

Some of the country's premiers also weighed in, with Ontario's Doug Ford saying that we must work together to "defeat anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms".

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