Robert Bowers wanted ‘all Jews to die,’ authorities say
Robert Bowers told a SWAT officer he “wanted all Jews to die,” after he gunned down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, according to a criminal complaint filed by local authorities.
Wounded and in custody, Bowers told SWAT officer David Blahut that “he wanted all Jews to die,” and that ”(Jews) were committing genocide to his people,” authorities wrote in the complaint.
Charges filed by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office include 11 counts of homicide, six counts of attempted homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. Bowers, 46, also faces 29 federal charges.
Eight men and three women were killed inside the Tree of Life Congregation when Bowers allegedly opened fire just before 10 a.m. A man and woman were critically injured, and four police officers sustained injuries.
The criminal complaint details the gunfight between Bowers and officers both inside and outside the synagogue.
Two officers, who police did not identify, arrived at the synagogue and found Bowers armed with an assault-style rife, according to the complaint. He opened fire on the officers, hitting one in the hand. Police returned fire, and Bowers retreated inside the building. The second officer received facial cuts from flying glass and shrapnel.
SWAT officers broached the building and found 11 dead inside, according to the complaint. SWAT officers and medics carried the two injured civilians outside.
While searching for more victims on the synagogue’s third floor, Bowers opened fire on SWAT officers, hitting two multiple times, according to the complaint. SWAT officers fired back, wounding Bowers, who was taken into custody and transported to the hospital.
Bowers left an online trail of hatred and anti-Semitism across social media. Minutes before he’s alleged to have torn through the Squirrel Hill synagogue, he posted a final rant: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” he wrote on the social network Gab. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”