Synagogue Rampage Suspect Indicted on 2nd Day of Funerals

October 31, 2018 03:48 PM

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, who was in his late 80s, 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."

More from KSTP:

U.S. Attorney's Office, FBI to Hold Community Meeting on Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Monday in Apple Valley

Pittsburgh Funerals Continue after Trump Visit and Protests

Overflow Crowd Gathers at St. Paul Temple for Commemoration

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.

"My mom would be very angry that her funeral wasn't able to be at Tree of Life, and that her friends lost Saturday couldn't be here," Howard Fienberg said.

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."

Widowed a decade ago, Younger had a son and daughter in California, who waited all day Saturday to learn if he had survived. "That waiting stage was just unbearable," said his son, Jared, of Los Angeles. "Saturday was the most lonely day of my life." 


Jared Younger said that when his sister contacted him, he had a feeling it was about his father. Irving Younger hadn't been in great health, undergoing bypass surgery last year. Jared Younger said his dad drank Diet Coke for 40 years, quipping he was "anti-water."

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.

A drained-looking Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, a survivor of the weekend shooting, hurried from service to service. "I can't imagine the stress he's under," said his predecessor, Rabbi Charles "Chuck" Diamond.

As Younger's service was wrapping up, Myers momentarily forgot to read a letter to her family that another rabbi had sent.
"After preparing for five funerals, you get a little verklempt," Myers said.

Bowers remained jailed without bail ahead of an arraignment scheduled for Thursday.

Connect with KSTP

Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.


Associated Press

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


MINNESOTA PRIMARY: Complete election results

'What it hits, it will get': UV light may be the new weapon in fight against pandemic

Test results slowed down as more testing becomes available in Minnesota

Newborn baby among the Minnesota children recently hospitalized with COVID-19

More rain, muggy weather likely Thursday