Synagogue shooter Robert Bowers appears in court in wheelchair

46-year-old Robert Bowers wheeled into court to hear indictment for mass-shooting attack in synagogue.


Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

Robert Bowers, the shooting suspect in the Shabbat morning attack on the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill, Pa., appeared in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Bowers arrived in United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon, in handcuffs and pushed in a wheelchair by federal marshals, who also stood throughout the room.

Bowers, who is being held without bond, waived a reading of the criminal complaint and possible penalties in the October 27 attack that left 11 worshippers dead. A public defender was appointed to represent him.

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said federal prosecutors are seeking approval to pursue the death penalty against Bowers, according to reports.

Monday’s initial hearing lasted about 10 minutes. Bowers is due again in court for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Bowers were injured during a shootout with police that took place during the attack. At least three of the doctors and nurses who treated Bowers, who reportedly was shouting “I want to kill all the Jews” when he arrived at Allegheny General Hospital, were Jewish, hospital president Dr. Jeffrey K. Cohen, told WTAE Action 4 News in Pittsburgh. Cohen is a member of Tree of Life Congregation, according to the report.

Cohen told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that the emergency room doctor and the registered nurse who first attended to Bowers were Jewish. The nurse, whose father is a rabbi, broke down in tears shortly after treating Bowers, Cohen said, adding: “I told him how proud I was. He went home and hugged his parents.”

Cohen reportedly personally visited Bowers and asked him if he was in pain.

The first victims’ funerals are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, hours before the scheduled arrival in Pittsburgh of President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.

Funeral services for brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The funeral for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz is set for 11 a.m.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at Pittsburgh International Airport at 3:45 p.m.