Police briefing pic.twitter.com/OzA5D2zMYq
— Megan Guza (@meganguzaTrib) October 27, 2018
Pittsburgh media have identified the shooting suspect alleged to have opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue during worship services on Saturday morning.
The man’s name is Robert Bowers, according to sources cited by Pittsburgh-based reporter Andy Sheehan with local CBS affiliate KDKA. The man in question is reportedly 46 years old.
Meghan Schiller reports that a suspect, a heavy-set white male with a beard, has surrendered. The SWAT team had been talking with the suspect, and he was crawling and injured. It is unclear the extent of his injuries.
Police have yet to confirm the suspect’s identity but details are beginning to emerge regarding Bowers himself. Bowers is apparently a well-known white supremacist and anti-Semite.
The last social media post attributed to the suspect reads: “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Other posts suggest Bowers had a love-hate relationship with President Donald Trump.
“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” a post from Thursday attributed to Bowers reads. “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”
Another post attributed to Bowers from the same day is the following re-blogged message:
First Trump came for the Charlottesville 4 but kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Rise Above Movement but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Proud Boys but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for me and there was no one left to suppor…
— LolaOfAKind (@Lola_Linnitt) October 27, 2018
The original post, attributed to another user of the “free speech”-oriented social media service Gab, is an apparent paraphrase of the Reverend Martin Niemöller‘s hindsight warning about the dangers of fascist division and internal silencing of dissident voices:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Gunfire erupted at the conservative synagogue where three different congregations were holding worship services on Saturday morning. (Note: the term “conservative” when used in reference to a synagogue is not an expression of the members’ political beliefs, but rather, simply a religious denomination.) At least eight people were killed and at least one dozen were wounded in the attack.
According to Pittsburgh Police, the suspect shouted “all these Jews need to die” as he surrendered after taking an injury in a firefight with multiple Pittsburgh PD officers.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
[image via screengrab]