Family members of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims look out at the crowd at the Rally for Peace in Point State Park in Pittsburgh on Friday, the same day Jeffrey Clark, a supporter of the shooting suspect, was arrested in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Washington, D.C., man who became a social media follower of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers appeared in front of a federal judge Tuesday after a call from relatives led to his arrest last week.
Jeffrey Clark Jr., 30, was arrested Friday after two family members told law enforcement about angry outbursts he had following the suicide of his brother Edward Clark, 23, according to the Washington Post. Jeffrey Clark reportedly told family members that the 11 people who died in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue shooting incident on Oct. 27 "deserved it."
The Clark brothers allegedly had both been involved in the so-called alt-right movement, which includes elements of white nationalism, and became interested in guns in 2016 "because they believed there was going to be a civil war," court documents say.
Jeffrey Clark first appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Saturday, but then his case was transferred to U.S. District Court, where U.S. Magistrate G. Michael Harvey assigned Clark a federal public defender.
The younger Clark killed himself near Washington, D.C., shortly after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting late last month. Family members told police the brothers allegedly fantasized about killing African-Americans and Jews, according to court papers.
But Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said in a statement there is no indication the brothers had prior knowledge to the Pittsburgh incident.
"The United States Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Pittsburgh want to assure the victims and the victims' families of the Tree of Life Synagogue attack that their safety is of paramount concern and that law enforcement continues to devote all available resources to the investigation and prosecution of this case," Brady said, according to KDKA-TV.
Jeffrey Clark and the suspect in the Pittsburgh shooting case, Robert Bowers, reportedly connected through social media website Gab. Authorities say that after Edward Clark's death, Jeffrey Clark posted a description of himself as a "Meth-Smoking, Pipe bomb making, mailman-murding ... Che Guevara of the altright," referring to the communist revolutionary who fought in Latin America and Africa.
Court documents indicate family members told officials that Jeffrey Clark was an admirer of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson, the Post reported.