The 46-year-old shooting suspect accused of killing 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is a Trump-hating white supremacist who spewed his anti-Semitic views online.
Robert Bowers is accused of opening fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh shortly before 10am Saturday.
After the killing spree, he allegedly exchanged gunfire with police and surrendered after being injured in that fight. He was taken to the hospital under police guard and remains there.
In the hours following the shooting, information about Bowers and his hatred-filled social media posts have come to light.
Robert Bowers, 46, has been identified as the suspected gunman. He pictured, left, in his Gab profile picture and right, in his driver’s license picture
An hour before the first reports emerged of the shooting, Bowers posted this on the social media website Gab. He was enraged by HIAS, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society which helps Jewish migrants settle in the US, and said he couldn’t ‘sit by’ and watch ‘my people get slaughtered’
Bowers initially wrote alongside an article 17 days ago: ‘Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided’
Among his antisemitic comments on the social network Gab are complaints about President Trump
The most revealing are on the social media network Gab, beloved by users because it promises never to censor them or hinder their free speech.
The bio section of his profile, which was quickly deleted after the shooting, reads: ‘jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44) — —- the lord jesus christ is come in the flesh.’
On Saturday morning, seemingly just moments before the massacre, Bower posted: ‘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.’
HAIS is a Jewish organization which works with refugees and was founded in 1881, originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe.
It appears the final three words, ‘I’m going in’, was a warning about the attack.
Within the last two days he reposted an article from HAIS’ website about National Refugee Shabbat last week, described as ‘a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals around the country to create a Shabbat experience dedicated to refugees’.
Bowers initially wrote alongside the article 17 days ago: ‘Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided.’
He then provided a link, however the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh is not on that list.
Bowers has an active license to carry a firearm and has made at least six firearms purchases since 1996. He shared pictures of his Glocks online
Bower allegedly burst through the synagogue’s doors armed with ‘multiple handguns’ and an AR-15. One of his posts about shooting is seen here
Robert posted his anti-Semitic views on Gab, beloved by users because it promises never to censor them or hinder their free speech
A spokesman at HAIS told DailyMail.com: ‘I can say definitively: No one at HIAS ever heard of the alleged shooter before today.’
Bower’s Gab profile reposted multiple anti-Semitic messages and revealed his disdain for President Donald Trump.
A photograph at the top of Bowers’ profile shows a ballistic chronograph used in shooting with the numbers 1488 on it. 1488 is a white supremacist symbol.
Three days ago he wrote: ‘Daily Reminder: Diversity means chasing down the last white person.’
Bowers revealed on social media that he did not vote for Donald Trump, ‘nor have I owned, worn or even touched a maga hat’.
He also wrote: ‘Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist.
‘There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k*** [slur for a Jewish person] infestation. #Qanon is here to get patriot that were against martial in the 90’s to be the ones begging for it now to drain muh swamp.
‘But go ahead and keep saying you are #Winning.’
Bower shared this very graphic story from a user with a swastika and SS symbol
Bower’s Gab profile reposted multiple anti-Semitic messages and revealed his disdain for President Donald Trump
The bio section of his profile, which was quickly deleted after the shooting, reads: ‘jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44) — —- the lord jesus christ is come in the flesh’
The QAnon conspiracy theory has perpetuated talk of a ‘deep state’ and emerged from the ‘Pizzagate’ plot that claimed without evidence top Democrats were running a pedophilia ring.
As news of the shooting spread, Gab separated itself from him.
In a statement, the company said it had reported his profile to the FBI and deactivated it.
‘Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue shooter.
‘The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners.
‘This person also had accounts on other social networks.
‘Gab took swift and proactive action to contact law enforcement immediately. We first backed up all user data from the account and then proceeded to suspend the account.
‘We then contacted the FBI and made them aware of this account and the user data in our possession.
‘We are ready and willing to work with law enforcement to see to it that justice is served.’
Bower has an active license to carry a firearm and has made at least six firearms purchases since 1996, a law enforcement official told CNN. He boasted of having a ‘glock family’ online.
Paramedics race to get a victim from Saturday’s shooting to the hospital outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
Jewish residents who live near the synagogue are pictured outside after the shooting. At least 11 are dead and others are injured
Shortly before 10am, he allegedly 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, it is claimed.
He allegedly 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 injured were four police officers and two congregants who are clinging to life in the hospital.
None of the 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.
In addition to the Sabbath service, a bris was scheduled for the morning and had attracted additional worshipers. It was later reported that it was a baby naming ceremony which was taking place.