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Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the man accused of opening fire Saturday inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 worshipers during the anti-Semitic rampage.
Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania “has initiated the approval process” to seek the death penalty for 46-year-old Robert Bowers.
“The ultimate decision regarding capital charges rests with the U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions,” Maimondi told Fox News in a statement.
Bowers allegedly entered the Squirrel Hill area house of worship armed with an AR-15 rifle and three Glock handguns on Saturday morning, targeting three separate congregations, all of which were conducting Shabbat services.
During the deadly assault – that killed eight men and three women before a tactical police team tracked Bowers down and shot him – Bowers reportedly made several statements about his desire to kill Jews.
After his arrest, Bowers told one police officer: “They’re committing genocide against my people. I just want to kill Jews,” the criminal affidavit said.
Six other people were injured in the attack, including four police officers. A law enforcement official said Bowers purchased all the weapons legally and had a license to carry.