Shooting at a Pittsburgh Synagogue

Jacob Pieczynski, Contributor

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The time is 9:54 AM on Saturday, October 27. The place is the Tree of Life synagogue, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Police receive an active shooter call at a popular synagogue. A minute later, the police were dispatched out to the synagogue.

What happened? Robert Bowers, 46, entered the Tree of Life Jewish synagogue. He was in the building for twenty minutes before police arrived. Upon noticing that the police had come, Bowers attempted to exit the building, but he ran into two police officers. He shot them, then retreated into the back of the synagogue while two more officers entered the building. These two officers engaged in a firefight with Bowers but were both shot and wounded. By the time Bowers was apprehended, he had killed eleven churchgoers and injured six, which includes the four cops he shot earlier.

Bowers was armed with an AR15 and three Glocks. When police searched his home, there were six other guns found. All were bought legally after completing background checks. In court, Bowers was officially charged with 29 crimes on the Federal level with 35 at the state, with a heavy possibility of the death penalty being thrown against him. According to the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), this is the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history.

Robert Bowers was an extreme anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist, claiming that Jews were taking over our nation. He was a heavy poster on the social media site, Gab. He regularly posted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, memes, and threats against the Jewish community. The website promotes itself as a “haven for free expression that major social networks will not allow.” (CBS). Prior to the attacks, Bowers posted this on the site, “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided.” HIAS is an acronym for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. This is a Jewish nonprofit organization with the goal of aiding refugees on their journey to a better place.

About two hours before Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue, he posted a cryptic message, again referring to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. He said, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Since then, Gab has been shut down. They claim that by shutting them down, people have “all just made Gab a nationally recognized brand as the home of free speech online.” (Gab) They claim that by pointing fingers at Gab and placing blame on them for allowing his posts to stay up, people are taking their attention away from Bowers.

Hours before his preliminary hearing, Bowers was released from the hospital after treatment for bullet wounds. Donald and Melania Trump visited Pittsburgh and the synagogue on Tuesday, the 30th to visit with the families and friends of those who passed.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/pittsburgh-shooting-synagogue-today-suspect-robert-bowers-squirrel-hill-live-updates-2018-10-29/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-bowers-gab-pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-today-live-updates-2018-10-27/

https://abcnews.go.com/US/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-suspect-discharged-hospital-set-make/story?id=58825389

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Jacob Pieczynski, Contributor

Hello! I am a fourteen year old freshman here at BFHS. I like to work out, play baseball, read, code, and hang out with my family and friends. I am stoked...

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