Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh. Photo: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

A federal grand jury has charged the man responsible for the murder of 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue with federal hate crimes, the Department of Justice has announced.

The shooter, Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, was charged in a 44-count indictment returned Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Specific charges include:

  • Eleven counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.
  • Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
  • Two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury.
  • Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
  • Eight counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
  • One count of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

On Oct. 27, Bowers entered the Squirrel Hill synagogue armed with multiple firearms, including handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle. The indictment alleges that while storming the Tree of Life Synagogue, Bowers unleashed a hail of bullets upon the worshipers of three congregations, killing almost a dozen as well as injuring multiple responding public safety officers. While inside the synagogue, Bowers made statements indicating his desire to “kill Jews,” authorities said.

“Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts, and healing for the victims’ families, the Jewish community, and our city,” U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. “Our office will spare no resource, and will work with professionalism, integrity and diligence, in a way that honors the memories of the victims. This is what the public expects from the U.S. Department of Justice. And truly we, as Pittsburghers, can do no other. It is time to go to work.”

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