The anti-Semitic gunman who allegedly opened fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning has been named as 46-year-old Robert Bowers (pictured center in his social media profile and top right in his drivers license). Bowers is said to have opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh shortly before 10am, murdering at least 11 people and injuring six more, including four cops. Shortly before 10am, he burst through the synagogue’s doors and opened fire on a Shabbat service congregation on the main floor where around 40 to 50 people had gathered, shouting ‘all Jews must die!’ The shooter was armed with an AR-15 and multiple handguns (bottom left). After killing three people on the main floor, he went to downstairs, where the New Light congregation was gathering in the basement, and opened fire there. He murdered four people there then fled upstairs where, on the third floor, he exchanged fire with SWAT teams. Dor Hadash, a third, smaller group, was gathered in the rabbi’s study to the side of the Tree of Life’s congregation. After being injured himself in the crossfire, the gunman surrendered to police. He is now in custody. After reporting on Twitter that the events were ‘far more devastating than thought’, President Trump said that it could have been prevented if the synagogue had its own security.
The suspected gunman who opened fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning, killing at least 11 people and injuring several others, has been named as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, a Trump-hating antisemite who regularly complained on social media about the president and ‘the infestation of Jews.’
Bowers allegedly opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh shortly before 10am. The synagogue was busier than usual with Sabbath services and because of a baby naming ceremony that had also been scheduled.
After opening fire on the congregation with three handguns and an AR-15, he was confronted by two Pittsburgh police officers who had been called to the scene as he tried to leave the building. Police say Bowers returned fire, injuring both of the cops, then retreated inside and ran to the third floor to hide.
He then engaged in a gun battle with a SWAT team and injured two of them before being shot multiple times himself and surrendering.
He is still alive, in a stable condition, and is in the hospital under the watch of police.
None of the victims have been named. Police revealed on Saturday afternoon that all of those killed were adults and that no children were harmed.
The six people injured include a 70-year-old man who is undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds and a 61-year-old woman who is expected to survive.
Three of the four cops are likely to survive but a fourth, a 55-year-old law enforcement officer, is in a critical condition.
The entire incident, from when he entered the synagogue to when he was removed, lasted 20 minutes.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Saturday that the federal government plans to file hate crimes and other charges against the alleged gunman – which carry the maximum penalty of death.
The synagogue was particularly busy because of the special ceremony planned. There are mixed reports that it was a bris, the Jewish ceremony which involves an infant’s circumcision, but there were children in the synagogue at the time.
Little is known about him but he made no attempt to conceal his antisemitism on the social media website Gab, beloved by users because it promises never to censor them or hinder their free speech.
In response to the shooting, the online payment giant PayPal announced that it has banned Gab, according to The Verge.
Gab responded by releasing a statement on Medium condemning the shooting while denying that it encourages terrorism or violence.
‘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.’
Apple refuses to host Gab in its iOS store while Google banned the app from its Google Play store for violating the company’s hate speech policy.
A post made on the site’s Twitter account on Saturday appeared to revel in the attention prompted by the killings, saying ‘We have been getting 1 million hits an hour all day.’
Bowers had an active gun license and has bought six firearms since 1996.
Police are preparing to search his home in Baldwin, Pennsylvania.
An hour before he arrived at the synagogue and started shooting on Saturday, Bowers, posted this chilling message on the site: ‘I’m going in.’
He was enraged by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society which helps Jewish migrants settle in the U.S., which he accused of bringing ‘invaders in that kill our people’.
‘I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,’ he wrote.
Two days ago, he said there was no ‘MAGA as long as there is a k*** [ethnic slur for a Jewish person] infestation’.
A photograph at the top of Bowers’ profile showed a machine with the numbers 1488 – a prolific white supremacist symbol – on it.
He also previously wrote that he had never voted for Donald Trump, ‘nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat’.
Bowers also said Trump is ‘a puppet for Jewish interests’.
He recently posted a photo of a collection of three black semi-automatic handguns he titled ‘my glock family,’ a reference to the Austrian firearms manufacturer.
He also posted photos of bullet holes in person-sized targets at a firing range, touting the ‘amazing trigger’ on his weapon.
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