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Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting charged in 44-count hate-crime indictment

Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting charged in 44-count hate-crime indictment

The man charged with murdering 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in a shooting spree has pleaded not guilty to all 44 counts against him, including hate crimes and firearms offenses.

The accused gunman, Robert Bowers (46) will be arraigned on a 44-count grand jury indictment that includes 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder, one count for each worshiper killed.

It is believed to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in United States history.

Authorities have not said whether Bowers - who was wounded during the gun battle with police responding to the synagogue - is cooperating with investigators or detailed what he may have told them.

Bowers appeared in court Monday in a wheelchair, where he said nothing other than "Yes" and "Yes, sir" to a judge in response to procedural questions.

Bowers remained in custody ahead of a preliminary hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

The presidential visit, which sources said congressional leaders of both parties declined to join, came as thousands of mourners attended the first funerals for victims of Saturday's massacre, the deadliest attack ever on American Jewry.

Bowers also faces prosecution at the state level.

With signs and chants, the protestors told the president that "dividing people does not make America great;' his visit comes on the heels of announcing he'd be signing an executive order to take away birthright citizenship".




A memorial to Bernice Simon is seen as part of a makeshift memorial, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in remembrance of the 11 people killed during worship services Saturday, Oct. 27, in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh massacre has fuelled a debate over US President Donald Trump's rhetoric and his self-identification as a "nationalist", which critics say has led to a surge in right-wing extremism and may have helped provoke the synagogue bloodshed.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the wife of Richard Gottfried, who was killed, wanted Trump to know there were people wanted him there.

The Simons were the "sweetest people you could imagine", a neighbor who lived next to them for almost 40 years said.

Trump and the first lady intend to travel to Pittsburgh at some point on Tuesday.

Augie Siriano, a custodian at Tree of Life, said the couple often brought him chocolate chip cookies, and that Sylvan Simon liked to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team.

Bowers had a history of of posting conspiracy theories about Jews and threatening Jewish communities online.

"We are Tree of Life and, as I said before to many, you can cut off some of the branches from our tree, but Tree of Life has been in Pittsburgh for 154 years".

The protests and memorial vigils coincided with funerals for victims of Saturday's mass killing, one of the worst acts of anti-Semitic violence in the U.S. in recent memory.

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