Pittsburgh synagogue rampage suspect indicted
Pittsburgh – The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, and members of a grief-stricken Jewish community endured another round of funerals for victims of the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history.
Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old truck driver who authorities say raged against Jews as he gunned down 11 and wounded six, was charged in a 44-count indictment with murder, hate crimes and other offenses that could bring the death penalty. The indictment, which was expected, was announced on the second day of a weeklong series of funerals for congregants who perished in the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue.
“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 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.”
One after another, services were held for three more victims of the rampage: Joyce Fienberg, 75; Melvin Wax, 87, and Irving Younger, 69.
“It can’t be fixed,” Robert Libman said at his sister’s funeral, clutching his chest as he described the pain of losing her. “My sister is dead. My sister was murdered. There was no one I know like her. Pure goodness. … She was the most tolerant and gentle person that I’ve ever known.”
Fienberg’s sons, Anthony, of Paris, and Howard, of Vienna, Virginia, said she spent five years caring for their father as he battled cancer, then, after his death a few years ago, devoted more of her time and energy to Tree of Life. She was a retired researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.
Younger had a small realty office in Squirrel Hill, the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, and coached baseball for more than 20 years. He loved to talk, and would gladly share his life story or stop strangers on the street to show them pictures of his grandson in California. One friend called him “a kibbitzing, people-loving man.”
The day’s other funeral was held for Wax, a retired accountant who was regarded as a core member of the congregation at New Light, which rented space in the lower level of Tree of Life.