Accused Pittsburgh shooter to face 29 criminal counts in court Monday

Minnie Murray
October 29, 2018

Officials released the names of all 11 victims during a news conference Sunday, all of them middle-aged or elderly.

The nation's latest mass shooting drew condemnation and expressions of sympathy from politicians and religious leaders of all stripes.

The Anti-Defamation League [ADL] said the shooting was the most deadly attack against Jewish people in America and came amid an increase in antisemitic attacks in the US.

Bowers also was charged with six counts of attempted homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.

Globally, antisemitism has resulted in Jews being targeted in every country they reside in and Jewish places of worship being firebombed, spray painted, and targeted by bombings and shooting rampages.

"We've got to stop hate and it can't just be to say we need to stop hate". "We will not try to rationalize irrational behavior". "We work tirelessly to balance that desire to be available and open with the security needs of our community".

Michael Eisenberg, the immediate past president of the Tree of Life, said synagogue officials had not received any threats that he knew of before the shooting.

The suspect was shot and is in hospital, the authorities said. It's reported Bowers exchanged gunfire with police before retreating back inside the synagogue.

Infeld says the tragedy has rippled through the community, but it has also brought people together, from different faiths, to rally against hate.

"To survive the Holocaust and find refuge in a free country and lose your life doing what you're supposed to do, going to synagogue on a Saturday not a thing that is easily understood", he said.

The 20 minutes he spent on the phone, Myers said, "felt like an eternity".

But as he made his way out of the door to leave he was confronted by two armed police officers.

"He had finished and he was exited the building", Jones told reporters.

Federal prosecutors charged Bowers late on Saturday with 29 criminal counts including violating USA civil rights laws. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the charges "could lead to the death penalty".

As news of the shooting spread, police locked down nearby synagogues in the heavily Jewish neighbourhood. "He gets up in the morning with new and inventive ways to divide us", Schiff said on CNN's "State of the Union". "We don't know what motivated the shooter, but when something like this strikes, the randomness of it terrifies".

The Jerusalem Post quoted Dov Khenin, a member of the Joint List Arab faction in the Knesset, as saying that he suspects "the attack is an expression of the growth of risky antisemitism in American society - a part of the racist and violent wave during the presidency of [Donald] Trump".

"I don't know why he thinks the Jews are responsible for all the ills in the world, but he's not the first and he won't be the last".

Anti-Semitic acts in the United States rose sharply in recent years, ADL figures show, by 34 per cent in 2016 over 2015, and by a further 57 per cent in 2016, "the single largest surge that we've ever seen" according to Greenblatt.

On Saturday, Trump called the shooting an act of pure evil and called on Americans to rise above hatred. In Fairfax County, Virginia, where I reside, the Jewish Community Centre of Northern Virginia was vandalised this month by 19 swastikas painted on the building.

He added Saturday night, at the political rally: "With what happened early today, that awful, terrible attack in Pittsburgh, I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that".

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