29 federal charges filed against Pittsburgh shooter

Federal prosecutors charge Robert Bowers with 29 counts in deaths of 11 people.

Ben Ariel ,

Scene of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
Scene of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

Federal prosecutors have charged Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman in Saturday’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, with 29 counts in deaths of 11 people, The Associated Press reports.

According to the report, Bowers has been charged with obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.

The charges also include 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder, weapons offenses and charges alleging Bowers seriously injured police officers while obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs.

The 20-minute attack at Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood left six others wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said.

The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Bowers traded gunfire with police and was shot several times. He was taken to a local hospital where he is listed in fair condition.

Before entering the synagogue, Bowers tweeted that "I can't wait while my people are getting slaughtered.... I’m going in". His social media was rife with anti-Semitic comments.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said earlier on Saturday that the Justice Department intends to file hate crime and other charges against Bowers.

Sessions said in a statement the killings were "reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation."

President Donald Trump described Bowers as "pure evil" after the massacre.

"This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil [...] You wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don't seem to learn from the past," Trump said during a rally in Indianapolis.

"There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice."

"We are praying for the families of the victims and our hearts go out to the wounded law enforcement officers in Pittsburgh," added Trump.