Pittsburgh Synagogue Sagittarius said he wanted to kill all Jews, according to a lawsuit
Jewish organizations have said that the violence at the Synagoge of the Tree of Life underlined the dangers of unbridled hatred at a time when anti-Semitic deeds are on the rise.
Bowers, who the authorities believe are acting alone, faces 29 federal lawsuits punishable by death. Scott Brady, the US attorney in Pittsburgh, asks Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions to approve the death sentence against Bowers, a US Department of Justice spokesman said.
Bowers to appear in court for the first time on Monday afternoon] The shoot hit the heart of Pittsburgh's historic Jewish district of Squirrel Hill and echoed throughout the United States, ending a week of traumatic events with shared roots in hatred. President Donald Trump ordered flags, which were flown on half a staff in honor of the victims.
On Sunday, attending dignitaries met with community leaders, politicians, and residents of the metropolis of Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh for an interreligious worship service. They pledged to support the community and fight hate speech.
"We will drive the anti-Semitism and hatred of all people back to the basement, to their computers and away from the open discussions and dialogues surrounding this city state and around this country," Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said.
A trail of hatred leads to suspicious
Sunday vigil, which came second since Saturday morning shooting, when a fuller picture began showing the suspect. The 46-year-old resident of suburb Baldwin was taken into custody following a shootout with the police. He is being treated in a hospital for gunshot wounds.
"They are committing genocide on my people," Bowers told police during the shootout, according to an affidavit from the FBI. "I only want to kill Jews."
The investigators raided Bower's house on Saturday with a robot and searched his vehicle on Sunday, the FBI said. They are looking for surveillance records from the area that could provide clues.
Weeks before the shoot, Bowers had addressed Jews with frequent posts on Gab, a social media platform that calls itself "the social network of free speech." He used anti-Semitic slurs, complained that President Donald Trump was surrounded by too many Jewish people, and accused Jews of helping migrant caravans in Central America.
He has also posted photos of his small arms collection. Bowers has 21
weapons registered in his name, said MP Mike Doyle, whose district includes Squirrel Hill.
Four hours before filming, Bowers posed for Trump. Minutes before he stormed into the building, he lied again at Gab and wrote to his followers.
"I can not sit around and watch my people being slaughtered," he wrote. "Screw your optics, I'm going in."
Gab denied support for violence and said his mission was to "defend freedom of expression and individual freedom for all people online." Gab said he backed up the suspect's profile, blocked his account, and turned to the FBI.
The Victims Have Been Identified
Robert Jones, FBI Special Agent, who directs the Pittsburgh office, called shooting "the most horrific crime scene" he had experienced in 22 years with the office , It began as a peaceful morning when dozens of people invaded the building to celebrate the Sabbath service with the three communities, "Tree of Life," "Dor Hadash," and "New Light."
Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers with Tree of Life said filming started at 9:45 am shortly after services began.
"My sacred site is contaminated," he said Sunday. He vowed to rebuild his church, and invited those in the audience to do their part.
"Words of hate are undesirable in Pittsburgh, it starts with everyone in this room, and I would like for a moment to address some of our political issues leaders who are here, ladies and gentlemen, it must be with you as our leaders ", he said in a standing ovation.
"My words are not meant as a political food, I speak to all equally Stop the words of hate."
On Sunday, the authorities announced the names of the 11 victims, all from Pennsylvania. These included a couple, a couple of brothers and a beloved doctor.
Joyce Fienberg, 75, Rose Mallinger, 97, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wachs, 88, and Irving Younger, 69, all came from Pittsburgh. Richard Gottfried, 65, was from Ross Township and Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86, from Wilkinsburg, said the chief physician of Allegheny County, Karl Williams. Allegheny County's office told late Sunday that autopsies had been completed on the victims, and all eleven died of gun-wounds with multiple headaches.
Six others were injured: two police officers, two SWAT officers and two others, said Wendell Hissrich, head of security at Pittsburgh. Bowers shot three of them, the authorities said.
Five people were hospitalized, including the four officers. Two of them were in critical condition: a 55-year-old man with multiple injuries to his extremities and a 70-year-old man with bullet wounds on his torso.
One official was released on Saturday and three remain in the hospital. All four were "in a good mood" when they were visited by a union representative on Saturday, said Robert Swartzwelder, president of the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police.
Gunfight ends with surrender
Residents of Squirrel Hill heard cries and shots from the synagogue. In a few minutes, police arrived in tactical gear and urged them to stay indoors.
The police said they received 911 calls via an active shooter at 10:00 am, five minutes after Bowers had his last social media post. As the officers entered the building, they found the bodies and survivors of the victims hidden. They saved at least two people from the basement and tried to evacuate the people as they searched for the sniper.
Two officers encountered the sniper in an offense when he attempted to leave the building. The gunner fired at her and shot an officer in the hand before fleeing back to the synagogue. The other officer suffered from cuts and broken glass several cuts in the face.
SWAT officers found Bowers on the third floor of the building and exchanged rifle fire against him until he capitulated, authorities said. Two SWAT officers were injured in the shootout along with Bowers.
Bowers used a Colt AR-15 rifle and three Glock .357 handguns during the attack, police said. Bowers legally bought the three Glock .357s, a police officer familiar with the investigation told CNN. It is not clear if the AR-15 was purchased legally.
In addition to these four rifles, the investigators found a shotgun in the alleged shooter's car that was not used for the shootings, Doyle said, referring to information he learned from law enforcement missions.
Suspect Might Receive the Death Penalty
Bowers faces at least 29 federal charges, including 11 cases of obstruction of religious beliefs that can lead to death, as well as 11 firearm cases to murder commit. A conviction could be punished with death, US Attorney General Brady said.
Asked if the shooting could be considered as a case of domestic terrorism, Brady said there must be evidence that the suspect attempted to spread a particular ideology by force.
"We continue to see where that line is Now, at this point in our investigation, we treat it as a hate crime."
In the shootings with the police, Bowers is also confronted with four cases of disability in the exercise of religious beliefs, which lead to personal injury of a public security officer, and three charges of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
He was also charged with 11 state offenses, including attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
The Holocaust Memorial Museum of the United States said the shooting was a reminder of "all the dangers of unrestrained hatred and anti-Semitism that it must face, wherever they occur."
In 2017, the anti-Semitic incidents are in the United States has risen by nearly 60% according to the Anti-Defamation League. Last year, 1,986 cases of harassment, vandalism or physical violence against Jews and Jewish institutions were reported.
The shooting found sympathy with the Israeli government and its people. Mourners staged makeshift memorials in Jerusalem's Zion Square, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Sunday to offer his condolences. Israeli Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Pittsburgh for Sunday service.
"Almost 80 years after the Kristallnacht, when the Jews of Europe perished in the flames of their places of worship, one thing is clear: anti-Semitism, hatred of the Jews, is not a distant memory," Bennett said. "It's not a thing of the past, nor a chapter in the history books, it's a very real threat."
Adam Hertzman, Director of Marketing for the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, said it was too early to say if The Community will give permanent security to the local synagogues.
"Our focus right now is to mourn those who have passed away and try to comfort the bereaved," Hertzman said. CNN's CNN's Kay Kay Mallonnee, David Shortell, Kara Devlin, Chuck Jonhston, Dakin Andone, Jason Hanna, Joe Sterling, Steve Almasy, Paul P. Murphy, and Delia Gallagher all contributed to the report.