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Accused Pittsburgh synagogue shooter formally indicted with hate crimes

By
Danielle Haynes
Visitors at a temporary memorial pause to reflect or lay flowers at the Tree of Life Synagogue where 11 died during a mass shooting in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted the alleged shooter on 44 counts. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Visitors at a temporary memorial pause to reflect or lay flowers at the Tree of Life Synagogue where 11 died during a mass shooting in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted the alleged shooter on 44 counts. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A federal grand jury formally indicted a man accused of fatally shooting 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue with 44 counts, including hate crimes, Wednesday.

Investigators said Robert Bowers, 46, opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, killing 11 people and injuring six others, including four police officers.

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Bowers faces 44 federal counts, including:

-- 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death

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-- 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence

-- two 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

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-- eight 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.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Pennsylvania, which announced the charges, said Bowers took multiple Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle into the synagogue with him.

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Officials said they were treating the shooting as a hate crime because he said he wanted to kill Jewish people.

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

The formal indictment came on the same day mourners attended funerals for three more of the victims -- Joyce Fienberg, 75; Irving Younger, 69; and Melvin Wax, 87. On Tuesday, funerals were held for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, and brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54.

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Authorities identified the other victims as Robert Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; and Daniel Stein, 71.

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