Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Identified as Robert Bowers

Robert Bowers was identified as the suspect in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in [...]

Robert Bowers was identified as the suspect in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday. The shooting left 11 people dead, making it likely the worst attack on worshipping Jews in U.S. history.

Just before 10 a.m. ET, during Shabbat services, police received the first 911 call, reports KDKA. Sources told the outlet that the 48-year-old Bowers came into the building yelling, "All Jews must die." He was reportedly armed with three handguns and an AR-15.

After officers arrived, Bowers reportedly shot at them. At first, he tried to leave the synagogue, but went back inside and was apprehended on the third floor. He was taken into custody about 20 minutes after the first 911 call, and police say Bowers acted alone.

At least six others were wounded in the shooting, including two police officers and a member of the SWAT team, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.

Police believe Bowers lived at an apartment near the synagogue and are working to get a warrant to search it.

According to CNN, Bowers had an account on Gab.com, a social media site that has become known as a platform used by white supremacists and the alt-right. In his posts, he blamed Jews for migrant caravans and accused the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of sponsoring it.

In one social media post, he wrote, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill out people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."

Bowers repeatedly referred to migrants as "invaders" and said they were violent. Some posts also included criticisms of President Donald Trump, because he is "surrounded by k–," and wrote, "There is no #MAGA as long as there is a k– infestation." Four hours before the shooting, he wrote that he did not vote for Trump.

The FBI is now leading the investigation into the shooting, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the case is being handled as a hate crime.

"Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society," Sessions said in a statement Saturday. "Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety. Today 11 innocent people were suddenly and viciously murdered during religious services and several law enforcement officers were shot. These alleged crimes are reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Accordingly, the Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty."

The Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights against anti-Semitism, called the Pittsburgh shooting "the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States."

"It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this violence occurs at time when ADL has reported a historic increase in both anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Semitic online harassment. As we mourn those lost and search for answers, ADL will remain steadfast in its mission to fight anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it may occur."

Gab also issued a statement on the shooting, saying the company will work with law enforcement and suspended the suspect's account.

Photo credit: DMV Pennsylvania