Around ten o’clock local time, 46-year-old Robert Bowers opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people died while six others were injured, including four agents. The shooter has a whole history of anti-Semitic statements on social media.
Bowers surrendered with the police after a gunfight. According to a police spokesman, he called anti-Semitic slogans, including “all Jews must die”. The shooter was transferred to the hospital. Nothing has yet been published about his condition.
Although the perpetrator’s motive is not yet officially known, it is clear that Bowers has a hatred of the Jewish people. This is evidenced by several reports that the forties posted on Gab, an online platform that is popular with neo-Nazis. According to investigators, he regularly wrote racist and anti-Semitic messages on the website. “Jews are children of Satan”, as is stated in his biography on the site.
Less than two hours before the shooting, he wrote a hate message addressed to The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organization that helps Jewish refugees. “HIAS likes to bring in intruders who kill our people. I cannot sit and watch as they slaughter our people. The pot with your views, I go inside,” says Bowers. Shortly after, Bowers removed his profile, but investigators could still find the messages.
Another message shows that Bower criticized US President Donald Trump. “T rump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no Make America Great Again as long as there is a Jewish plague.” He also commented on the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested in Florida yesterday after sending more than a dozen explosives to several prominent Democrats including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros.
A spokesman for Gab stated in the meantime that the site does not allow any call for violence. “Gab’s policy on terrorism and violence has always been very clear. We do not tolerate this. We are sad and disgusted by the news from Pittsburgh. We think of the families and friends of all victims”, he sounds.
The synagogue, where mostly conservative Jews come, was properly filled for the weekly morning service. There would have been sixty to a hundred believers in the building. Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said at a press conference that the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill is considered a federal hate crime. The FBI is investigating the case further.
According to Donald Trump, the shooting, “very similar to an anti-Semitic act,” made “many deaths and seriously injured.” Trumps daughter Ivanka, who has been converted to Judaism, spoke of an “America that is stronger than the actions of a pervert and sectarian anti-Semite”.