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Federal prosecutors have charged the suspected gunman in a massacre that killed 11 people at Pittsburgh synagogue with 29 charges, including using a firearm to commit murder.
Scott W. Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, announced the charges late Saturday, about 12 hours after they say Robert Bowers opened fire inside the Tree of Life synagogue.
A news conference was scheduled Sunday to discuss the charges.
The 20-minute attack at Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood left six others wounded, including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said.
The suspect, Robert Bowers, traded gunfire with police and was shot several times. Bowers, who was in fair condition at a hospital, was expected to face federal hate-crime charges.
“Please know that justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe,” Scott Brady, the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania, said at a late-afternoon news conference, characterizing the slaughter as a “terrible and unspeakable act of hate.”
The mass shooting came amid a rash of high-profile attacks in an increasingly divided country, one day after a Florida man was arrested and charged with mailing a series of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and little more than a week before the midterm elections.
The killings also immediately reignited the longstanding national debate about guns: President Donald Trump said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue “had some kind of protection” from an armed guard, while Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf noted that once again “dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way.”
Trump said he planned to travel to Pittsburgh, but offered no details.
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