‘Friend’ Of Pittsburgh Synagogue Mass Shooter Arrested, Says Massacre Was A ‘Dry Run’

Memorial flowers outside of the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

Self-described white nationalist Jeffrey R. Clark Jr. was arrested on gun-related charges after describing the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting as a “dry run,” and claiming that the victims “deserved it.” The 30-year-old — who was a social media follower of the mass shooting suspect Robert D. Bowers — had become increasingly agitated over the past few days, forcing family members to reach out to law enforcement, according to the New York Times.

Clark was charged with illegally possessing a firearm and a high-capacity magazine for use with assault weapons on November 9, and made his first appearance in court on Tuesday. He was turned in to police by relatives after having violent outbursts, including one where he said that the shooting victims “deserved it.”

Clark’s behavior had become increasingly erratic after his brother, 23-year-old Edward Clark, shot himself on October 27. This self-afflicted shooting occurred within a few hours of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Relatives say that both brothers were involved with the alt-right movement, and that Clark has called himself a Nazi. He belongs to Gab, a free-speech platform that has attracted the attention of alt-right users, per the Telegraph, using the site under the name @PureWhiteEvil.

He had also allegedly adopted the internet moniker of DC Bowl Gang — a reference to Dylann Roof, the gunman who killed nine churchgoers at a predominantly black church in Charleston in 2015. Clark’s brother used the name DC_Stormer. He was apparently friends with the synagogue shooter on the social media platform.

Clark had posted photos of the siblings wearing masks and holding weapons in front of a skull and crossbones flag on Gab, and described himself as a “Meth-Smoking, Pipe bomb making, mailman-murding [sic]… Che Guevara of the altright.”

After the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Clark posted a photo of Bowers splattered in blood with the caption: “This was a dry run for things to come.”

Police say that Clark had gone on several rants on the site, calling Bowers a “hero” and saying that he was justified in shooting the synagogue attendees because “a homosexual Jewish couple was having an adopted baby circumcised that week.”

He also said that the victims of the attack “were all active supporters of pedophilia … and every last one of them deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse.”

Relatives told authorities that the 30-year-old admired Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and Charles Manson — and believed that a civil war was coming to the United States.

“Jeffrey and Edward Clark believed there would be a race revolution and they wanted to expedite it,” said one relative.

The siblings had four weapons between them: a Remington Arms handgun, a Mossberg shotgun, a Beretta handgun and a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. Clark also surrendered a.38 handgun. Police found two muzzleloading pistols, two ballistic vests, two ballistic helmets, and two gas masks at the brother’s home. Clark will be held until Friday.