Robert Bowers charged with murdering 11 people after synagogue shooting

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Robert Bowers charged with murdering 11 people after synagogue shooting

A gunman suspected of walking into a synagogue in Pennsylvania and opening fire on worshippers has been charged with 11 counts of murder.

In total, Robert Bowers faces 29 charges, which also include weapons offences and hate crimes.

The 46-year-old is said to have walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday and started shooting, killing 11 people and wounding six before police took him into custody.

Robert BowersPolice are responding to reports of a gunman entering a synagogue and opening fire in Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania, US media report.Emergency services arrived at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue at about 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT), according to reports.It is not yet clear if anyone has been injured in the incident.Footage posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighbourhood.

Robert Bowers has been charged with murdering 11 people in a synagogue (Picture: CNN)

It was the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, according to the leader of the Anti-Defamation League.

The latest mass shooting to rock the US has drawn condemnation from Donald Trump – but the president has been criticised for suggesting the attack would not have happened if the synagogue had ‘protection’.

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He said: ‘If there was an armed guard inside the temple that would have been able to stop him, maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him.’

Mr Trump described the shooting as an ‘evil anti-Semitic attack’ and ordered flags at federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.

Bowers, who was shot multiple times by police but survived, had expressed a hatred of Jews on social media.

Shooting suspect is 46-year-old Pittsburgh resident Robert Bowers, who has made a number of anti-Semitic statements on social media. Police are looking into these beliefs as a possible motive behind the shooting. (Picture: Robert Bowers/Twitter)

It is believed Bowers acted alone at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh (Picture: Robert Bowers/Twitter)

Law enforcement officers secure the scene where multiple people were shot, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Police traded fire with the gunman before taking him into custody (Picture: AP)

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 27: Police rapid response team members respond to the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to reports, at least 12 people were shot, 4 dead and three police officers hurt during the incident. The shooter surrendered to authorities and was taken into custody. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The attack sparked alarm among the USA’s Jewish communities (Picture: Getty)

Authorities said it appears Bowers acted alone, but the shooting sparked alarm in Jewish communities, with authorities sending extra patrols to synagogues.

Thousands of people gathered for a vigil in Pittsburgh on Saturday night – with some blaming the turbulent political climate for the attack.

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Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation, which rents space at Tree of Life, said: ‘When you spew hate speech, people act on it. Very simple. And this is the result. A lot of people dead. Senselessly.’

Worshippers ‘were brutally murdered by a gunman targeting them simply because of their faith’, Bob Jones, head of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office, said.

Scott Brady, the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania, pledged that ‘justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe’.

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