The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott W. Brady, announced late Saturday that his office had formally filed 29 criminal charges against Robert Bowers, the alleged shooter who killed 11 people at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue Saturday morning.
“Please know that justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe,” Brady said at a news conference, describing the massacre as a “terrible and unspeakable act of hate.”
Bowers 29 federal criminal counts include 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and 11 counts of obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death. Bowers exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officials who arrived at the scene and he was injured.
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters six people were injured by Bowers in the attack, including four Pittsburgh police officers. The alleged murderer surrendered to police inside the Jewish temple and was transported to the hospital via ambulance with gunshot wounds but officials say he’s in fair condition.
In a news conference after the shooting took place, a visibly shaken Hissrich said it was a “very horrific crime scene.”
“It’s one of the worst that I’ve seen and I’ve been on some plane crashes,” Hissrich added. “It’s very bad.”
Before Bowers walked into the house of worship with murderous intent he went online and posted on his Gab internet page that “jews are the children of satan.” He also ranted against Jews for bringing in “hostile invaders to dwell among us,” which would lead to “certain extinction.”
As he entered the synagogue and encountered members engaged in worship, he reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before he opened fire.
The FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Pittsburgh office, Bob Jones, said that the FBI investigation into the shooting is still in the early stages. He also said that his agents will be looking at every little detail of the suspect’s life, including his social media activity, his known associates, and his movements over the past few days.