The mother of Robert Bowers, the 46-year-old man who pulled an AR-15 on a synagogue full of worshipers on Saturday morning in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in the massacre, is reportedly utterly distraught at her only son’s actions.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rev. Mark Schollaert has been trying to help Barbara Bolt since she learned of Bowers’ involvement in the shooting.
Bolt has also had to talk to authorities as they try to understand what happened and why, and Schollaert has been helping her come to terms with the tragedy. Bolt requested that Schollaert make a statement to the press on her behalf, as she is too devastated to speak to the media.
“It’s been an emotional trauma for her as well,” Schollaert said. “Her heart is really broken for all of the families involved. We just want the community to know that Barb is broken-hearted and that we as a community with her are praying for the families. Everybody will be forever changed and for that we are heartbroken.”
Bolt, and her partner Ray, who is not Bowers’ biological father, are truly broken up by the horrific events, per Trib Live.
“They’re just really saddened for the Jewish community, they really are, that’s Barbara and Ray. They’re hurting for the Jewish community. They love the Jewish people. It’s a hard thing.”
— Courtney Brennan (@WPXI_Courtney) October 31, 2018
Aside from any concern she may have over her own son, Bolt is heartbroken for the families who have lost loved ones as a result of her son’s actions and praying for the nine people, including four responding police officers, who were also injured in the heinous attack. Bolt wants the Jewish community to know that she is sorry for what her son has done to try and tear them apart.
Schollaert has said that he knew Bowers, but that the shooter was not part of his First Baptist Church in Monongahela congregation with his mother. As with everyone else who knows Bowers who has come forward so far, Schollaert stated he was unaware that the man was deeply involved in anti-Semitic communities online, or that he was regularly posting hateful messages about the Jewish community.
Authorities investigating the case have just released documents that show Bowers has had a history of run-ins with the law, albeit on much lesser charges. According to the papers, Bowers regularly clashed with the Dormont police when he lived in the area in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, police have stated that all those incidents were minor and never would have indicated a mass shooting on the horizon.