Robert Bowers, the suspect in Saturday’s Pittsburgh synagogue killings, was charged by a US federal grand jury with 44 counts on Wednesday, 15 more than was first announced. Federal prosecutors have decided to charge him with hate crimes for religious reasons.
Federal prosecutors had already indicated that they intended to apply for the death penalty.
“Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts, and healing the families of the victims, the Jewish community and our city,” said US Attorney Scott Brady in a statement. Our office will spare no resources and work with professionalism, integrity and diligence in a way that honors victims.”
On Sunday, US authorities announced that Robert Bowers would face 29 charges for obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, use of a firearm to commit a violent crime, obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs that caused bodily harm to a public safety officer and the use and discharge of a firearm in a violent crime.
Robert Bowers is currently imprisoned without the possibility of bail, pending his preliminary trial. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Farewell to the victims
Eleven people were killed and six were wounded in the Saturday morning shootings at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.
Four of the wounded, including two policemen, are still in the hospital. According to medical officials, however, the state of health of the two people who were most seriously injured, a police officer and a person who attended religious service in the synagogue, is improving.
Robert Bowers opened fire on the faithful by shouting anti-Semitic statements, including: “All Jews must die.”
The funeral of three of the victims, Melvin Wax, 87, Irving Younger, 69, and Joyce Fienberg, 75, were celebrated on Wednesday.
The series of funeral services began Monday and will last a week.