Pittsburgh Synagogue Suspect Appears in Court
Pittsburgh shooting suspect, Robert Bowers, was pushed into the courthouse on a wheelchair on Monday morning.
With an expressionless face, Mr. Bowers who faces charges for attacking the “Tree of Life” synagogue and killing 11 unarmed members of the congregation, appeared before a United States Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell.
Before his appearance at the court, the background check carried out on the suspect revealed that he was formerly a truck driver and a loner, as described by neighbors. During the proceeding, the Magistrate Judge read out the 29 criminal charges pressed against the suspect and the charges included obstruction of the freedom to religious beliefs – which falls under hate crime. Based on the United States Constitution, the hate crime penalty is a death penalty sentence which the federal authorities intend to initiate during the proceeding on Sunday.
The 46-year-old ex truck driver remained on his wheelchair which was pushed by a United States Marshall throughout the proceeding. Despite being held down in shackles, the suspect seemed to be without wounds or injuries. It is known that Mr. Bower had shot by the police who had shown up at the synagogue during the shooting before he surrendered.
During the proceeding, the suspect turned down the judge reading out the sentence which would be carried out if he was found guilty for the crime. The judge ordered that he remained in police custody without bail until the next hearing which will take place on Thursday.
After the court hearing, an announcement came from the White House stating that President Donald Trump would be arriving with the First Lady at Pittsburgh. The announcement got a lot of criticism from the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. Bend the Arc, a Jewish group wrote an open letter to President Trump, stating that he was not welcome in Pittsburgh. The Synagogue Rabbi, Jeffery Myers, however, stated that President Trump was always welcome to the town.
Traumatized witnesses of the shooting explained the event saying that Bower had stormed into the Jewish synagogue screaming that all Jews must die before opening fire at the congregation of the church. Before the police arrived at the scene, 11 members of the synagogue were shot dead, and 6 others were injured. After the police arrived, 4 policemen were wounded before the suspect put down his arms and surrendered.
Families of the deceased have begun holding funerals for their loved ones while two of the surviving victims remain in critical conditions in the hospital.
The Federal courthouse was surrounded with heavy security following Mr. Bower’s appearance at the court with a team of sharpshooters, armed police officers, and guard dogs. The accused said very little during the arraignment.
During the arraignment, the 46-year-old spoke with a calm, steady voice with an expressionless face when asked questions by the Magistrate Judge. He also signed papers with firm, steady hands. Mr. Bower only showed signs of panic when he was being taken out of the courtroom when he looked around, seemingly confused.