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Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Suspect Appears In Federal Court

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The man accused of shooting and killing 11 people inside a synagogue in Squirrel Hill appeared in court on Monday.

According to police, 46-year-old Robert Bowers allegedly walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue yelling anti-Semitic slurs and shooting at worshipers while three separate services were taking place on Saturday.

Eleven people died and several others were injured, including four police officers.

Robert Bowers
(Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation)

Bowers made his first appearance in court Monday afternoon.

Seated in a wheelchair, he displayed no emotion as he was brought into the courtroom.

robert bowers sketch
(Sketch By: Dave Klug)

He was apprised of the charges against him, his right to remain silent and his right to counsel.

Bowers is being detained in jail without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Nov. 1.

"At that time, we will have the opportunity to present evidence demonstrating that Robert Bowers murdered 11 people exorcising their religious beliefs and that he shot or injured six others, including four of whom were police officers responding to the shooting. Our investigation into these hate crimes continues. Under the law, we must present this case to a federal grand jury within 30 days of today," U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.

Brady filed federal hate crimes charges against Bowers on Saturday evening. Those charges include:

Eleven counts each of Obstruction of Exercise of Religious Beliefs Resulting in Death and Use of a Firearm to Commit Murder During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, four counts of Obstruction of Exercise of Religious Beliefs Resulting in Bodily Injury to a Public Safety Officer and three counts of Use and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

Brady says federal prosecutors are seeking approval to pursue the death penalty against Bowers.

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims' families and with the community and rest assured, we have a team of prosecutors working hard to ensure that justice is done," Brady said.


Investigators say Bowers was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns. All four weapons were used in the shooting.

Bowers exchanged gunfire with police before he was subdued and taken to Allegheny General Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He has been under guard at the hospital and was discharged at 9:45 a.m. on Monday.

Security has been heightened at Allegheny General Hospital since Bowers was brought there. A long line formed outside the hospital Monday morning as badges of all employees were being checked at all entrances. Those security measures were in place until Bowers was discharged. He was last listed in fair condition and will not be returning to the hospital following his court appearance.

According to court paperwork, Bowers made statements to police "that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they were committing genocide to his people."

Investigators say it appears that Bowers acted alone.

Amy Wadas' Report:

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office has filed charges against the alleged gunman, which include 11 counts of criminal homicide, along with six counts of attempted homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.

Bowers graduated from Baldwin High School in 1990 and moved around South Hills towns working as a laborer and, more recently, a truck driver.

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