Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday issued a statement on the occasion of the second anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“Two years ago, a white supremacist entered Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue and perpetrated the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. Eleven innocent lives were taken that Shabbat morning, ripped away from their families by a lone gunman taking longtime forces of bigotry and prejudice to their violent conclusion. This act of terror was not only an assault against the Jewish community of Pittsburgh — it was a strike against the soul of our nation and the values for which America stands,” he said.

“Today, the pain remains. For the families of Tree of Life, New Light, and Dor Hadash, the grief will never fully subside. In the two years since, we have witnessed the courage and resilience of these congregations — responding to their most profound moment of fear and despair with purpose, compassion, and love,” added Biden.

“When anti-Semitism is allowed to fester, it shreds the fabric of our communities and erodes our soul. We must stand up and speak out whenever and wherever it rears its head, because silence can become complicity. If we are ever to reach our full potential as a nation, we must banish hatred, bigotry, and conspiratorial fanaticism to the dustbin of history — and choose a path of dignity and respect for all people.”

“On behalf of Jill, Kamala, Doug, and our families, we stand with the people of Squirrel Hill, the entire Pittsburgh community, and all Jewish Americans on this solemn anniversary. May the memories of the victims forever be a blessing,” he concluded.

The Pittsburgh shooter, Robert Bowers, is charged with killing 11 congregants during a Shabbat service at the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, 2018, and injuring six others, including four police officers.

The shooter was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns and allegedly yelled “I want to kill all Jews” during the attack.

He was initially indicted on 44 counts. In January, a federal grand jury added 19 charges to the 44 counts previously levied against Bowers. He has pleaded not guilty to all 63 federal counts.