Robert Bowers has been identified as the suspect who opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, leaving 12 injured and at least eight dead.
Police had not yet released the identity of the suspect but a number of local sources including KDKA identified him as Bowers. The report said that he walked into the crowded synagogue in a Jewish neighborhood and yelled “All Jews must die!” before opening fire.
The man reportedly fired on police when they arrived on the scene, but he was ultimately captured by police. Reporters are now starting to share details on Robert Bowers and his possible motive for the attack. Many have traced his apparent hatred of Jewish people, including his online postings where he ranted against Jews and expressed a belief that President Donald Trump was controlled by Jews.
In one post on Twitter attributed to Bowers, he took aim both at Donald Trump and followers of the QAnon conspiracy, which claims that Trump is part of a secret alliance taking on the so-called “Deep State.”
“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” read a post from two days ago. “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k**e infestation.”
In another post attributed to Robert Bowers, there appeared to be a warning of the violence that would come.
“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” read another post just hours before the shooting took place. “Screw your optics. I’m going in.”
– At least 8 dead following a shooting at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during Shabbat services
– Suspect identified as Robert Bowers, who yelled "all Jews must die" as he carried out the shooting
– Suspect is in custodypic.twitter.com/0ZBoO684xK
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) October 27, 2018
Robert Bowers apprehended after shooting at synagogue near Pittsburgh, at least 8 reported dead and 3 wounded, including police. Bowers apparently shouted "All Jews Must Die" before opening fire.https://t.co/grTz9PiURp
— Patrick (@TrickFreee) October 27, 2018
As the Associated Press reported, at least three police officers were among those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Police said they did not yet have all the details on the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting as they were still clearing the building and trying to assess whether there were any more threats.
The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting takes place amid a backdrop of heightened anxiety across the nation. Last week, a man identified as Cesar Sayoc reportedly sent pipe bombs to a series of top Democrats and other targets who are frequently attacked online by Donald Trump. The attempted bombings led many to call on Trump to dial back his rhetoric and believed that his frequent attacks on opponents could inspire his more unstable followers to target them.
Robert Bowers, who has been taken into custody after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, appeared to be an opponent of Donald Trump and believed he was too close to Jewish interests.