The U.S. Attorney’s Office intends to pursue the death penalty against Robert Bowers, who has been accused of shooting and killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said late Sunday that he has already begun the process to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions' approval for a capital case against the 46-year-old man, who also wounded six people, including four law enforcement officers.
According to police, Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday, armed with an AR-15 rifle and three Glock .357 handguns, and opened fire.
After a shootout with police, Bowers told a SWAT team member that he wanted to “kill Jews” because “they’re committing genocide to my people,” according to the complaint.
His social media posts include similar anti-Semitic messages, including his Gab profile header: “jews are the children of satan.” He also accused the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish nonprofit that aids refugees, of trying “to bring invaders in that kill our people.”
“I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” he wrote Saturday morning, just hours before the shooting. “Screw your optics, I'm going in."
Bowers faces 29 federal charges, including obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs and using a firearm to commit murder, as well as 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.
Mayor Bill Peduto called it the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history."
"The Jewish community is the backbone, it is part of the fabric of Pittsburgh," he said. "We have been knocked down before, but we have always been able to stand back up because we stay together."
With News Wire Services