The suspect who allegedly shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue and killing at least eight people has been identified by several outlets, including local CBS affiliate KDKA, as Robert Bowers. Bowers appears to have been an active user of social media, where he often posted anti-Semitic rants and put forward his theories about President Donald Trump being controlled by the Jews. Reports differ on his age, with some saying Bowers is 46 while others say he is 48.
Bowers appears to have been particularly active on Gab, which has been described as the alt-right social network that is home to lots of racists, according to posts that were screengrabbed before his account (@onedingo) was wiped. Producer and director Robby Starbuck managed to grab some of his posts and posted an archive online. “This monster is an unhinged anti-Semitic terrorist,” wrote Starbuck.
Shortly before the shooting, Bowers wrote on Gab: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I’m going in.” HIAS refers to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which supports refugees. He may have been referring to the caravan of migrants making their way from Central America to the United States, which he apparently saw as part of broader Jewish conspiracy. His posts and reposts repeatedly mentioned Jews supporting refugees as a part of some nefarious plot.
In other posts, Bowers made his hatred of Trump clear. “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” he wrote two days ago. “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.” At another point, Bowers reposted a message that suggested Trump was under the control of Jews, who are out to destroy Western civilization.
Gab.com issued a statement saying that its “policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we a have zero tolerance policy for it.” It also pushed back against the characterization of the social network as the home of racists: “We refuse to be defined by the media’s narratives about Gab and our community. Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.” Gab said it is cooperating with authorities but also got combative on social media, directly calling out critics and questioning why they don’t speak up about “the anti-white hate” that is seen on Twitter.