PITTSBURGH – A tactical Pittsburgh police officer who was among the first law enforcement members inside the synagogue building during a shooting three years ago and 11 people were killed, told a judge Tuesday that defendant Robert Boers had made several references to the murder of Jews.
Officer Stephen Meskan was the first to testify that there could be a two-day hearing, which prosecutors would be allowed to use during the trial, the day of the October 2018 genocide in Bowers.
Federal prosecutors played dozens of snippets from police radio transmissions from the scene, one of which Meskan said: “The suspect is saying ‘all these Jews must die.’ Statement that day.
Boers was not in Pittsburgh federal courtroom on Tuesday, facing more than a dozen federal charges, including hate crime violations, obstruction of religious beliefs and the use of firearms during crimes of violence. He is not convicted and could face the death penalty if convicted.
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Authorities allege the Boers, 49, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, carried out the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. He injured seven people, including five police officers, in the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Investigators say Bowers fired an AR-15 rifle and other weapons during worship inside the building, killing eight men and three women. He was arrested after a police team tracked him down and shot him.
Tree of Life, Door Hadash and New Light – three separate congregations were conducting weekend services in different areas of a large building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh when the attack took place.
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Meskan said that when he and other strategic officers entered the building, they saw two men on their right who had been shot several times in the head and had a mark of blood that led to the basement of the building.
The hearing is expected to continue throughout the day and on Wednesday.