More information has come to light about Robert D. Bowers, the shooting suspect in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday (Oct. 27). Like previous hate crime suspects, Bowers shared racist views and hints about the attack online.
The 46-year-old’s account on social platform Gab showcased many anti-Jewish comments and conspiracy theories around the Trump administration. In one post found by The New York Times, Bowers claimed: “Jews are the children of Satan” used derogatory terms like k*** to describe people of the Jewish community.
Just before the shooting, Bowers gave a subtle hint towards the shooting in reference to advocacy group HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Bowers wasn’t the biggest Trump fan, citing how the president employed too many people from the Jewish community in his administration. “Trump is surrounded by k****”, “things will stay the course,” read one post on the site. He also confirmed that he didn’t vote for him in the general election.
Eleven people died and four were injured in the shooting Saturday morning, authorities have confirmed. The synagogue was having a Shabbat service when Bowers opened fire, shooting several police officers. At the time of the shooting, Bowers carried an assault rifle and three registered handguns he previously shared on Gab. The site is primarily known for its free speech mission which brought about a larger alt-right and white nationalist audience blocked on other platforms.
Officials confirmed Bowers was in the synagogue for 20 minutes before the shooting started.