Eight men and three women, aged between 54 and 97, were killed in the shootings at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, officials said this morning at a news conference. The anti-Semitic attack is described as a hate crime by police.
The victims were identified at the crime scene by Dr. Karl Williams, the chief medical examiner of the county, with the help of Jewish community leaders.
The victims include Joyce Fienberg, a 75-year-old Toronto woman, and two brothers and a married couple.
The analysis of the crime scene could take another week. Some families will not be able to bury the bodies of their dead in accordance with Jewish tradition, which allows a 24-hour period for funerals, according to sources speaking to News Lair.
“In this case, because of the difficulty of doing the investigation and gathering the clues that may incriminate perhaps the accused, unfortunately, these families will have to ignore their Jewish customs,” a spokesman for the police said.
Six people were also injured during the tragedy. Of these, four police officers, three of whom were directly attacked by the shooter.
Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old resident of Pittsburgh, spoke of “genocide and his desire to kill Jews” during the attack on this place of worship, authorities confirmed Sunday.
The suspect entered heavily armed in the place of worship. The four weapons he was carrying, three Glock pistols and an AR-15 assault rifle were all used during the killings.
Many shots were fired, there were bushings everywhere.
Medical Examiner Karl Williams
An important investigation is underway to dissect every aspect of the suspect’s life. Our special correspondent told ICI RDI that the suspect was not known to the police.
It has already been established that he publishes anti-Semitic messages on the Gab platform. Supporters of the alternative right movement (alt-right) , often banned from Twitter, express themselves on this social network.
On Sunday, Gab said he was forced to shut down, as the company providing Internet access will end his services as of Monday.
Paypal also announced that it excluded Gab from its online payment services because of hate speech peddled on this site with the benevolence of its administrators.
For now, the tragedy is described as a hate crime, but not domestic terrorism. The FBI does not know why the suspect attacked this particular synagogue. This attack would be the most deadly committed against the Jewish community in the United States.
Injured during his confrontation with the police, Robert Bowers was operated on and hospitalized in a stable state, indicated the authorities.
He faces 29 counts. He will appear before a judge on Monday at 1:30 pm.
- 11 counts of obstruction of the exercise of religious belief leading to death;
- 11 counts of using a firearm to commit a violent crime;
- 4 interfering with the exercise of religious beliefs that caused bodily harm to a public security officer;
- 3 counts of using and discharging a firearm during a violent crime.
If Robert Bowers is convicted, he could be sentenced to death, according to Justice Minister Jeff Sessions.
“The worst of humanity”
“The acts of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity. We dedicate all my resources to the investigation and prosecution of this hate crime, “said Scott Bradey, Pennsylvania Western District Attorney.
Robert Jones, the FBI special agent in Pittsburgh, emphasized the courage of the police officers who intervened during the drama: “They are real heroes”.
We have a strong relationship with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We cry with you. We support you […] It’s a tragedy for everyone.
Scott Schubert, Pittsburgh Police Chief
The executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area, Jeffrey Finkelstein, spoke of a “horrible period for the Jewish community […] We will do everything we can to help families.”
For the Anti-Defamation League, the main anti-Semitism organization in the United States, the killing is part of a global context deleterious.
“We are at a time when anti-Semitism is almost normalized,” said director Jonathan Greenblatt of NBC channel, recalling a 57% increase in anti-Semitic acts [threats, violence, insults] in 2017 in the country. .
Hundreds of people of all faiths gathered on Sunday night to remember the victims of the synagogue shootings and to show their solidarity with the community.
The Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, has argued the unity of the city against this “irrational” crime. “Pittsburgh is a strong city. […] We have always come out [trials] working together. We will go through this sad day for our community by working together. ”
“We know that hatred will never prevail, that those who try to divide us because of the way we pray or the origin of our families around the world will lose,” he added.
The elected Democrat also relaunched the thorny debate over firearms, while shootings regularly plague the United States.
“I heard the president say that we should arm guards in our synagogues,” he said.
“Our approach should be: how to remove firearms – the common denominator of all shootings in America – from the hands of those who want to express their racist hatred through murder? ”
Laura Modin has lived in Las Cruces her whole life. Laura has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The The Santa Fe New Mexican. As a journalist for News Lair, Laura covers national and international developments.