A federal grand jury has indicted Robert Bowers, the gunman accused of massacring eleven congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday, on 44 separate counts, including a number of hate crimes, the Associated Press first reported.
BREAKING: Federal grand jury indicts Robert Bowers on 44 counts, including hate crimes, in synagogue shooting.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 31, 2018
The charges, ranging from the obstruction of religious practices to the use of a firearm in commission of a murder, will likely result in life without parole or the death penalty, which the Department of Justice said previously it believes is appropriate in this case. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will ultimately decide on which sentence prosecutors will seek.
Bowers, 46, is also facing eleven counts of criminal homicide at the state level. Allegheny County district attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Tuesday that federal authorities have prevented him from pursuing those charges despite his contention that area residents should “sit in judgment” of Bowers.
Authorities claim Bowers, armed with two Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle, drove to the Tree of Life Synagogue in the historic Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill and opened fire on congregants attending Saturday morning services. Eleven people were killed and six, including two police officers, were wounded before Bowers surrendered.
“Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in announcing the indictment handed down by a grand jury in Pennsylvania. “These alleged crimes are incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Therefore this case is not only important to the victims and their loved ones, but to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire nation.”