Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers, who allegedly killed 11 people and injured several more, ranted online about killing Jews and complained about the president.
“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” Bowers wrote on social media website Gab.ai. “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a [slur for Jewish people] infestation.”
He said that President Donald Trump was also not supportive enough of white nationalists who attended the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. According to screenshots of his Gab account, he also slammed the Qanon phenomenon to “get patriots that were against martial law in the 90s to be the ones begging for it” to “drain muh swamp.”
Hours before the shooting, he apparently indicated on social media that he would carry out an attack. “Screw your optics,” he wrote, “I’m going in.”
Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh shooting suspect named on the police scanner, has a GAB posting history of deranged anti-Semitic conspiracy. Two days ago he claimed Trump was controlled by Jews, this morning he posted "Screw your optics, I'm going in"…absolutely chilling https://t.co/lsm0P0Y7tl
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) October 27, 2018
Then, The Associated Press reported, he went into Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire. Witnesses said he yelled, “All Jews must die” when he entered.
In the wake of the deadly shooting, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Ivanka Trump released statements on the matter.
The president wrote on Twitter that “all of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries.”
He added that this “this evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) October 27, 2018
“America is stronger than the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite,” wrote Ivanka Trump, who is married to Trump’s senior advisor, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish. “All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh. We must unite against hatred & evil. God bless those affected.”
Bowers was taken into custody after a shootout with a SWAT team. Federal prosecutors charged him with 29 criminal counts including violence and firearms offenses and violating U.S. civil rights laws.
“The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity. We are dedicating the entire resources of my office to this federal hate crime investigation and prosecution,” U.S. attorney for western Pennsylvania Scott Brady told reporters. FBI special agent Bob Jones said Bowers was armed with an assault rifle and three handguns.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty.
He told reporters the killings might have been prevented if there had been an armed guard. “If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple maybe it could have been a much more different situation, they didn’t,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report