A gunman shattered the peace of Shabbat morning services at Tree of Life synagogue in the close-knit Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh Saturday, Oct. 27, when he entered and killed 11 people and wounded six others, including four police officers.
Reports say apprehended suspect Robert Bowers uttered “All Jews must die” before opening fire with an assault rifle and three handguns during his 20-minute spree. Authorities found he regularly posted hate speech online, particularly at a site called Gab.
The Department of Justice has charged Bowers with 29 federal counts, including 11 counts of obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the charges could lead to the death penalty.
Charges filed by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office include 11 counts of homicide, six counts of attempted homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation, which are considered hate crimes. Bowers appeared in court Monday, where he was ordered held without bail for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, this shooting is believed to be the most deadly attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history.