Grand Jury Indicts Synagogue Murder Suspect

(CN) — A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the man accused of carrying out the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre  this past weekend on 44 counts, including hate crimes.

Federal prosecutors have already said they plan to seek the death penalty for Robert Bowers, who killed 11 and wounded six in the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.

“Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts, and healing for the victims’ families, the Jewish community, and our city,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said in a written statement.

“Our office will spare no resource, and will work with professionalism, integrity and diligence, in a way that honors the memories of the victims,” Brady said.

Bowers, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

The charges announced Wednesday include: 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death; 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence; 2 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury; 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; 8 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer; and one count of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

The charges were announced on the second day of funerals for the congregants who were gunned down in Saturday’s rampage.

Melvin Wax, 87, Irving Younger, 69, and Joyce Fienberg, 75, were being laid to rest as part of a weeklong series of services.

Of the six people who were wounded in the attack, four were police officers, and two of them remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds Wednesday.

Two congregants also remain in the hospital, one in critical condition.

According to the indictment, Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a community in the greater Pittsburgh area, on October 27 as congregants were gathered for a service.

Prosecutors say he was carrying several weapons at the time, including multiple Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 assault rifle, and that as he opened fire on worshipers, he “made statements indicating his desire to kill Jews.”

“These alleged crimes are incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Wednesday. “Therefore this case is not only important to the victims and their loved ones, but to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire nation.”

%d bloggers like this: