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Pittsburgh massacre suspect indicted on federal hate crime charges, faces 535 years

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Pittsburgh massacre suspect indicted on federal hate crime charges, faces 535 years

Pittsburgh massacre suspect indicted on federal hate crime charges, faces 535 years
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Reuters
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The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect could face more than 500 years in prison based on new charges.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Robert Bowers on a slew of hate crime charges in connection with the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue during services Saturday morning, which killed 11 people.

Shooting suspect Rob Bowers.

Bowers, 46, faces either death or a consecutive sentence of 535 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue with multiple firearms, including Glock .357-caliber handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle, and made statements expressing his desire to "kill Jews."

"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 in a statement. "Our office will spare no resource, and will work with professionalism, integrity and diligence, in a way that honors the memories of the victims."

Bowers is charged with:

11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.

11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.

8 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.

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.

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.

Bowers had a history of of posting conspiracy theories about Jews and threatening Jewish communities online. Hours before the Tree of Life synagogue was attacked, Bowers wrote on the social network Gab that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a humanitarian nonprofit group that assists refugees, brought immigrants to the United States to do violence.

Funerals began for the 11 victims of the synagogue shooting on Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife, Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, attended memorials for the victims and visited the synagogue.