Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Robert Bowers Pleads Not Guilty, Seeks Trial

Jack Phillips

Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people and wounding several more at a Pittsburgh synagogue, pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.

Bowers, 46, was placed in front of Judge Robert Mitchell in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and said little. He told the judge that he understood the charges filed against him and that some could result in his execution.

Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Rose Mallinger, 97; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69, were identified as the 11 victims in the shooting. A pair of brothers and a married couple were among those killed.

“They were just wonderful, graceful people,” Augie Siriano, a custodian at the synagogue, said.

Six other people, including four police officers, were injured before Bowers was shot by police and surrendered.

Social media profile photo of Pittsburgh synagogue gunman Robert Bowers. (Screengrab via Gab)
Social media profile photo of Pittsburgh synagogue gunman Robert Bowers. (Screengrab via Gab)

Prosecutors have stated they will seek the death penalty against Bowers. After the mass shooting, President Donald Trump, who visited the Tree of Life synagogue and met with its rabbi this week, called to “stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty,” CBS News reported.

“When people do this they should get the death penalty,” the president said. “And they shouldn’t have to wait years and years. ... And, I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue.”

Bowers also faces Pennsylvania state charges, including 11 counts of criminal homicide and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. Reuters reported that the federal trial will come first.

Shackled to a wheelchair, he was injured in a shootout with police at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. On social media, Bowers made anti-Semitic statements, saying Jewish people are “the enemy of white people.”

Less than an hour before the shooting, Bowers wrote on the website: “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.”

Before that, he criticized Trump, saying he’s a “globalist” and isn’t “winning.” He added: “For the record, I did not vote for him.”

Reuters contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/jackphillips5
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