Suspected synagogue shooter pleads not guilty

Suspected synagogue shooter pleads not guilty

Suspected synagogue shooter pleads not guilty

Robert Bowers, who has been charged with murdering 11 people at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday.

Despite pleas from local leaders and citizens to not visit Squirrel Hill, or at least postpone his trip in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, President Donald Trump nevertheless arrived in the Pittsburgh neighborhood on October 30.

Prosecutors say that once inside, Bowers, who had been vocal about his anti-Semitic beliefs on social media, said he was there to "kill Jews".

District Attorney Stephen Zappala said in a statement Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice had taken the lead in investigating the attack.

Six people were injured - four of whom were police officers responding to the scene. He was in a wheelchair during his first court appearance on Monday.

Suspect Robert Bowers faces 29 federal charges, including counts of hate crimes that are potentially punishable by death.

He spoke little, and only said that he understood the charges against him, and that some of them could result in the death penalty.

Bowers remained jailed without bail ahead of an arraignment scheduled for Thursday.

Prosecutors have indicated they plan to seek the death penalty for Bowers, but no official decision has been made.

The panel issued the indictment as funerals continued for the victims, including a husband and wife married at Tree of Life 62 years ago.

Funerals are ongoing for the victims who were killed after beginning Tuesday.

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Rose Mallinger, 97; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69, were identified as the 11 victims in the shooting.

It was the worst attack on Jews in the nation's history.

Federal investigators concluded that Bowers legally acquired and possessed all of the guns recovered from Tree of Life synagogue and his home, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

As Trump and his security detail passed by one hallway, a group of hospital workers yelled to thank him for his service, prompting him to walk over and greet them.

But another Squirrel Hill resident, Shayna Marcus, a Jewish 34-year-old nurse and Trump supporter who hoped to catch sight of the presidential motorcade, said: "I don't think focusing on Trump is the answer, or on politics".

"I can't imagine the stress he's under", said his predecessor, Rabbi Charles "Chuck" Diamond.

Top congressional leaders from both political parties rejected invitations from Trump to join him in visiting.

Meanwhile, 911 operators who were on duty Saturday morning described how they could hear gunshots and screaming as the rampage unfolded.

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