Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety, says US Attorney General
The suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on 44 counts, including hate crimes and murder, for the shooting in which 11 people were gunned down, the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions after announcing the indictment said hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in the American society.
"Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety," he said.
Robert Bowers, 46, who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue, faces a possible death sentence, or life without parole.
"These alleged crimes are incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Therefore this case is not only important to the victims and their loved ones, but to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire nation," Sessions said.
According to the indictment, Bowers on October 27 drove to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where members of the Tree of Life, Dor Hadash, and New Light Jewish congregations gathered to engage in religious worship.
Bowers entered the building armed with multiple firearms, including Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle.
The indictment alleges that while inside the Tree of Life Synagogue, Bowers opened fire, killing and injuring members of the three congregations, as well as injuring multiple responding public safety officers.
While inside the Tree of Life Synagogue, Bowers made statements indicating his desire to "kill Jews."
The indictment charges Bowers of 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 during and in relation to a crime of violence; and 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.
President Donald Trump travelled to Pittsburgh to meet with the victims of the deadly shooting, the worst for the Jewish community in the US in years.
(With inputs from agencies.)