Who Is Robert Bowers? Pittsburgh Synagogue Suspect’s Trail of Hate

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
October 28, 2018USshare

Robert Bowers, the alleged gunman in Saturday’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, is the focus of intense FBI scrutiny, including his trail of hateful online posts and outbursts.

Anti-Semitic Messages

The 46-year-old mass shooting suspect shared anti-Semitic posts on a social media platform where he claimed that Jews were “the enemy of white people.”

Bowers appears to have been active on alternative social media website Gab, which is popular with people who have been banned or censored from other social media sites. Bowers’ Gab profile said, “Jews are the children of Satan.”

Less than an hour before the shooting spree, Bowers shared a post on the website: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

HIAS is a nonprofit that describes itself as “helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and sanity.”

Police-officers-guard-the-Tree-of-Life-synagogue-following-shooting
Police officers guard the Tree of Life synagogue following shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn., on Oct. 27, 2018. (John Altdorfer
/Reuters)

‘All Jews Must Die’

The Oct. 27 shooting occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood during a Shabbat religious service.

The full motive for the shooting is still unclear at this time, although a police source told KDKA that the suspect had walked into the synagogue yelling “All Jews must die” before he opened fire.

The gunman was was inside the synagogue for about 20 minutes, officials said at a news conference on Saturday, CNN reported. He exchanged gunfire with law enforcement as he left the building, and retreated inside.

Bowers was later apprehended and hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds.

Eleven people were killed and six others were injured. Four officers were shot during the incident and suffered non-fatal injuries.

A criminal complaint said the 11 dead were eight men and three women, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Authorities did not immediately identify them.

Anti-Semitic Statements After Arrest

Bowers made anti-Jewish comments after he was apprehended, according to charging documents viewed by The Associated Press.

Bowers told an officer while he was being treated for his injuries “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,” the affidavit said.

The attack took place on the same day as Saturday Shabbat services. Three different congregations were holding services at the Tree of Life synagogue.

A U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania filed 29 federal charges against Bowers Saturday night, according to the Post-Gazette. including multiple counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

The federal charges include 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death; 11 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence; four counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.

“The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity,” said Scott W. Brady, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Please know that justice, in this case, will be swift and it will be severe.”

Shooter Opens Fire At Pittsburgh Synagogue
Police rapid response team members respond to the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Oct. 27, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Anti-Trump

Bowers also made or shared multiple posts against President Donald Trump. In one, he called Trump a “globalist” and said that Trump was not “winning.” In a comment on another, he said: “For the record, I did not vote for him.”

NTD Photo

Trump responded in the wake of the massacre.

“It’s a terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country,” Trump told the press on Oct. 27.

Trump also said that shooters in cases involving innocent victims of hate crimes should receive the death penalty. “They should pay the ultimate price,” he said.

The President, from Andrews Air Force Base on the way to Indianapolis, added, “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation.”

“They didn’t have protection. They had a maniac walk in and they didn’t have any protection.”

He told reporters that the violence “has to stop.”

The Associated Press and Charlotte Cuthbertson from the Epoch Times contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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