Robert Bowers appeared in court shackled and in a wheelchair Monday, recovering from injuries he received by police after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The 46-year-old long-haul trucker faces 29 federal charges including hate crimes and prosecutors intend to pursue the death penalty.
“We will have the opportunity to present evidence demonstrating that Robert Bowers murdered 11 people who were exercising their religious beliefs,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady. “And that he shot or injured six others including four of whom were police officers responding to the shootings.
Law enforcement officials say Bowers used an AR-15 and three handguns, all of which he owned legally and had a license to carry.
Before the shooting, on a website popular with the Alt-Right, Bowers posted a photo of three handguns he called his “glock family” and wrote “Jews are the children of Satan.” He also fixated on a group called the “Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, which helps refugees from all backgrounds settle in the U.S.
Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers moved the Tree of Life congregation’s Torah from the building this morning.
“I’m not just concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism, but I’m concerned about the rise of hate,” said Rabbi Meyers.
“It still doesn’t feel real…I can’t reconcile this at all,” said Hallie Goldstein, Tree of Life congregant.
The victims include a doctor, brothers with special need and a 97-year-old woman who was often the first to walk into services.
Bowers is detained without bond. He’ll be back in court for a hearing Thursday. He has no prior criminal record.