The gunman who opened fire on a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning, killing eleven and injuring six more, has been named as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, a Trump-hating antisemitic who regularly complained on social media about the president and ‘the infestation’ of Jews.
Bowers, who professed his disdain for President Trump on social media as he spewed vile antisemitism an hour before Saturday’s attack, opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh shortly before 10am.
After his killing spree, he exchanged gunfire with police and was surrendered after being injured in that fight. He was taken to the hospital under police guard and remains there.
Little is known about Bowers but he made no attempt to conceal his antisemitism on the social media website Gab, beloved by users because it promises never to censor them or hinder their free speech.
Less than an hour before he arrived at the synagogue and started shooting on Saturday, Bowers, who is not thought to be married, posted this chilling message on the site: ‘I’m going in.’
He was enraged by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society which helps Jewish migrants settle in the US, which he accused of bringing ‘invaders in that kill our people’.
‘I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,’ he wrote.
Two days ago, he said there was no ‘MAGA as there is a k*** [ethnic slur for a Jewish person] infestation’.’
A photograph at the top of Bowers’ profile showed a machine with the numbers 1488 – a prolific white supremacist symbol – on it.
He also previously wrote that he had never voted for Donald Trump, ‘nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat’.
Shortly before 10am, he burst through the synagogue’s doors armed with ‘multiple handguns’ and an AR-15 and opened fire on a Shabbat service congregation on the main floor where around 40 to 50 people had gathered, shouting ‘all Jews must die!’.
After killing three people on the main floor, he went downstairs, where the New Light congregation was gathering in the basement, and opened fire there.
He murdered four people there then fled upstairs where, on the third floor, he exchanged fire with SWAT teams and injured four police officers. Dor Hadash, a third, smaller group, was gathered in the rabbi’s study to the side of the Tree of Life’ s congregation.
After being injured himself in the crossfire, Bowers surrendered to police. He is now in custody.
Among the six people injured were four police officers and two congregants who are clinging to life in the hospital.
None of the eleven people killed have been named. Local officials described the scene as ‘horrific’ and cried as they gave an update on the shooting on Saturday afternoon.
After tweeting that the situation was ‘devastating’, President Trump said on Saturday that it would not have happened if the synagogue had had its own security.