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US officially charges suspect in synagogue rampage that killed 11 people

The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Google Maps/Released)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A man suspected of conducting a shooting rampage that killed 11 people in a synagogue in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania has been charged with 29 criminal counts.

Prosecutors on October 27 said Robert Bowers, 46, had been charged with crimes that included the use of a firearm to commit murder and obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said federal hate crime charges that “could lead to death penalty” would be filed.

Police say Bowers, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and three handguns, entered the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh early on October 27, yelling, “All Jews must die” as he opened fire.

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At least six other people, including four police officers, were wounded before the man was arrested.

Authorities said the suspect was hospitalized in fair condition with gunshot wounds, apparently inflicted by responding officers.

Officials said Bowers had made anti-Semitic posts on a right-wing social media platform, including one shortly before the attack.

Posts referenced false conspiracy theories that suggested the Holocaust — in which 6 million Jews died — was a hoax.

President Donald Trump told reporters during a visit to Illinois for a political rally that he would travel to Pittsburgh but did not provide details.

Trump condemned what he described as an act of “hate,” and praised the actions of law enforcement for doing “an outstanding job.”

He said such shooters should receive the death penalty and “suffer the ultimate price.”

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among world leaders to condemn the attack and offer condolences.

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