As it happenedended1540838614

Pittsburgh shooting: Synagogue massacre suspect Robert Bowers must return to court on Thursday

Victims in the attack include two brothers in their 50s, David and Cecil Rosenthal, a married couple in their 80s, Sylvan and Bernice Simon, and 97-year-old Rose Mallinger

Chris Stevenson
New York
Monday 29 October 2018 19:41
Names of Pittsburgh shooting victims released

The man accused of shooting dead 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, an incident described by prosecutors as “an horrific act of violence”, has appeared in court in a wheelchair where 29 charges were read to him aloud.

Robert Bowers, 46, who is said to have written a number of racist and antisemitic social media posts, was wheeled into the court in handcuffs and was asked if he understood the charges levelled against him.

Mr Bowers, dressed in a blue shirt, briefly had the handcuffs removed, so he could sign legal documents. The judge then read to him, the two-and-half dozen charges he faces.

Speaking from the White House just after the hearing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called it an "act of evil".

“This atrocity was a chilling act of mass murder, it was an act of hatred, and above all, it was an act of evil. Antisemitism is is a plague to humanity and it is responsible for many of the worst horrors in human history,” Ms Sanders said.

Ms Sanders announced that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Pennsylvania tomorrow to grieve with the community.

The brief hearing in a packed courtroom, came just two days after Mr Bowers allegedly entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Tree neighbourhood, armed with three hand guns and a semi-automatic rifle.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

He is accused of killing eight men and three women - aged 54 to 97 - and injuring six others, among them four police officers who shot and detained him. Prosecutors said they are treating the incident as a hate crime and have requested permission to seek the death penalty if Mr Bowers is convicted.

After the hearing, US Attorney Scott Brady told reporters prosecutors the court had ordered the suspect to appear for a preliminary hearing on Thursday in relation to the “horrific act of violence”.

Follow live updates below

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load


Hello and welcome to our coverage of the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, in which 11 people were killed.

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 13:31

The suspect in the case, Robert Bowers, is set to make his first court appearance at 1.30pm ET (5.30pm GMT).

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 13:32

A Muslim group has raised more than $110,000 for those affected by the shooting, via a crowdfunding campaign.

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 13:37

"I think people are in various stages of trauma, mourning, disbelief, shock all rolled into one," Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue told ABC's Good Morning America this morning.

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 13:45
Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 14:05

Meanwhile, community leaders in Pittsburgh have said that President Donald Trump is not welcome in the city until he changes his rhetoric.

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 14:22

A spokeswoman says the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect has been released from the hospital.  

Stephanie Waite of Allegheny Health Network says Robert Bowers was released Monday morning from Allegheny General Hospital. 

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 14:39

The social media site Gab - which removed profiles alleged to have belonged to suspect Robert Bowers - has gone down.

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 15:01

US marshals say the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect has arrived at a federal courthouse ahead of an afternoon appearance. 

A government car with a wheelchair visible inside could be seen arriving on Monday. 

Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 15:22

Pennsylvania State Police said troopers will stop at synagogues and other places of worship to make sure everyone is safe. 


Chris Stevenson29 October 2018 15:36

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments