A gunman killed 11 people in a synagogue Saturday morning. The shooting rocked the close-knit Jewish community of Pittsburgh. The suspect was wounded, but survived. Forty-six-year-old Robert Bowers is being described as an antisemite who hated President Trump. He regularly ranted on social media about both the president and what he called “the infestation of Jews.”
The shooting happened at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh. There was a baby naming ceremony being held at the Sabbath services.
Bowers entered, armed with three pistols and an AR-15. After shooting inside, he tried to escape but was confronted by two Pittsburgh police officers. The police fired at Bowers and Bowers fired back. It is believed that he shot both of them.
He was then met by SWAT officers, and a longer gun battle ensued. He shot two other officers in that fight. He was shot multiple times and eventually surrendered.
“He is still alive, in a stable condition,” The Daily Mail reports, “and is in the hospital under the watch of police.”
While the names of the victims are still not public, police have indicated that all of the victims were adults. No children were injured.
Three of the four officers who were shot are listed in stable condition. One, a 55-year-old officer, is in critical condition.
Unlike many incidents of this nature, this shooting spanned almost 20 minutes.
After the attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that his office will pursue hate-crime charges against Bowers, which may allow for the death penalty.
Bowers’ motive is still murky. What is know has been gleaned from social media. “An hour before the first reports emerged of the shooting,” Daily Mail writes, “Bowers posted this on the social media website Gab. He was enraged by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society which helps Jewish migrants settle in the US, and said he couldn’t ‘sit by’ and watch ‘my people get slaughtered’.”
“Gab.com’s policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we a have zero tolerance for it,” the company said.
“Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence.”
The President was quick to weigh in, too.
…This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries. This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.