Police: Synagogue gunman said he wanted all Jews to die
By MARK SCOLFORO, CLAUDIA LAUER and ALLEN G. BREED
Sunday, October 28
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The suspect in the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue expressed hatred of Jews during the rampage and told officers afterward that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die, according to charging documents made public Sunday.
Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him, authorities said in state and federal affidavits, which contained some unreported details on the shooting and the police response.
“I just want to kill Jews,” Bowers told an officer, according to one of the documents.
Officials released the names of all 11 victims during a news conference Sunday, all of them middle-aged or elderly. The victims included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. The oldest was 97.
Mayor Bill Peduto called it the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history.”
Calls began coming in to 911 from the synagogue just before 10 a.m. Saturday. Bowers, 46, shot one of the first two officers to respond in the hand, and the other was wounded by “shrapnel and broken glass,” according to court documents.
A tactical team found Bowers on the third floor, where he shot two officers multiple times, an affidavit said.
One of the wounded officers was treated and released, and a second was expected to be released Sunday. The other two officers were expected to stay in the hospital, and one of them, a 40-year-old man, remained in critical condition Sunday.
Two other people in the synagogue were wounded by Bowers. A 61-year-old woman was listed in stable condition, and a 70-year-old man was in critical condition, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Bowers, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns and used all four weapons in the attack, told an officer while he was being treated for his injuries “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,” a Pittsburgh police affidavit said.
Bowers was charged with 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in what the leader of the Anti-Defamation League called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
Bowers was also charged in a 29-count federal criminal complaint that included counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death — a federal hate crime — and using a firearm to commit murder. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the charges “could lead to the death penalty.”
Bowers, who underwent surgery and remained hospitalized, is scheduled for a court appearance Monday. It wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
His neighbor, Chris Hall, said he never heard or saw anything to indicate that Bowers harbored anti-Semitic views or posed a threat. Bowers kept to himself, he said.
“The most terrifying thing is just how normal he seemed,” Hall said. “I wish I knew what was going on inside his head. Maybe something could have been done. I don’t know.”
The victims included Melvin Wax, a retired accountant in his late 80s who was always one of the first to arrive at synagogue and among the last to leave.
“He and I used to, at the end of services, try to tell a joke or two to each other,” said Myron Snider, a fellow member of New Light Congregation, which rented space in the basement of Tree of Life. “Most of the time they were clean jokes. Most of the time. I won’t say all the time. But most of the time.”
The nation’s latest mass shooting drew condemnation and expressions of sympathy from politicians and religious leaders of all stripes. With the midterm election just over a week away, it also reignited a longstanding and bitter debate over guns.
Pope Francis led prayers for Pittsburgh on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.
“In reality, all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” he said. He prayed for God “to help us to extinguish the flames of hatred that develop in our societies, reinforcing the sense of humanity, respect for life and civil and moral values.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman quoted Merkel on Twitter as offering her condolences and saying that “all of us must confront anti-Semitism with determination — everywhere.”
Trump on Saturday said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue “had some kind of protection” from an armed guard, while Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, up for re-election, noted that once again “dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way.”
Calling the shooting an “evil anti-Semitic attack,” Trump ordered flags at federal buildings throughout the U.S. to be flown at half-staff in respect for the victims. He said he planned to travel to Pittsburgh but offered no details.
In the city, thousands gathered for a vigil Saturday night. Some blamed the slaughter on the nation’s political climate.
“When you spew hate speech, people act on it. Very simple. And this is the result. A lot of people dead. Senselessly,” said Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation, which rents space at Tree of Life.
Little was known about Bowers, who had no apparent criminal record but who is believed to have expressed virulently anti-Semitic views on social media. Authorities said it appears he acted alone.
The Jewish community is “an important part of the cultural and social identity of Pittsburgh, and so this was an attack upon our neighbors and upon our friends,” Scott Brady, the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania, said.
The gunman targeted a building that housed three separate congregations, all of which were conducting Sabbath services when the attack began just before 10 a.m. in the tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and the hub of the city’s Jewish community.
During the week, anyone who wanted to get inside Tree of Life synagogue had to ring the doorbell and be granted entry by staff because the front door was kept locked. Not so on Saturday — the Jewish Sabbath — when the building was open for worship.
Michael Eisenberg, the immediate past president of the Tree of Life, said synagogue officials had not gotten any threats that he knew of before the shooting. But security was a concern, he said, and the synagogue had started working to improve it.
Lauer reported from Philadelphia, and Breed reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Contributing to this report were Associated Press journalists Mark Gillispie, Robert Bumsted and Gene Puskar in Pittsburgh; Eric Tucker, Michael Biesecker and Michael Balsamo in Washington; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Michael Kunzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania.
For AP’s complete coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings: https://www.apnews.com/Shootings
Attorney General DeWine Announces New Training House for Ohio Law Enforcement Training Village
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
October 25, 2018
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced the addition of a training house to the immersive law enforcement training village located at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy’s campus in London, Ohio.
The old warden’s residence at the London Correctional Institution will become part of the training village and will be incorporated into multiple OPOTA advanced training courses, including courses related to crime scene investigation and evidence collection.
Attorney General DeWine made the announcement during this year’s Law Enforcement Conference in Columbus, where hundreds of Ohio law enforcement professionals convened to learn new skills and share information.
Residence that will become part of training village
“As part of our efforts to provide the best training possible for Ohio’s law enforcement community, I’m pleased to announce this new addition to our law enforcement training village,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Immersed in realistic environments and guided by skilled instructors, officers who train here will be better prepared for what they may encounter while on duty so that they can better protect themselves and the community.”
Attorney General DeWine first introduced the law enforcement training village in 2017, and it is currently used in a number of OPOTA advanced training courses. The village includes several neighboring structures, and with simulators and live role players, the training replicates situations officers may encounter while on duty to help them sharpen their skills in stress-inducing, realistic environments.
In the next stage of development, the old warden’s residence will be converted for use in the training village. OPOTA will hold crime-scene evidence collection courses at the house to help officers train in realistic settings to investigate crime scenes and gather evidence. The garage and second-story apartment of the residence also will be modified for building-entry training, simunitions courses (which utilize non-lethal training ammunition), and training on maneuvering in enclosed stairways that are common in many buildings.
The training village was created in response to the recommendations of an advisory group convened by Attorney General DeWine in 2014 to examine the training of Ohio law enforcement officers and to look for opportunities for improvement. The group recommended the addition of scenario-based training to help officers respond appropriately to situations they might face.
Ohio Attorney General and Auditor of State Offer Manual of Best Practices to Secure Property Rooms
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Securing and protecting evidence is a necessity for the justice system, and a new manual created jointly by the offices of the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Auditor of State provides the state’s law enforcement agencies with best practices in the management of property and evidence rooms, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Auditor of State Dave Yost announced today.
“We are pleased to announce the creation of this best practices manual, which is designed to be a quick reference guide to help law enforcement agencies implement policies to improve and maintain the integrity of their property and evidence rooms,” Attorney General DeWine said. “I thank Auditor Yost and his team for their work with our staff on this collaborative project.”
“Evidence and witness testimony are key components in the criminal justice system,” Yost said. “And just as we must shield witnesses from tampering and intimidation, we also must ensure that evidence is secured, protected from tampering and theft, and available when needed in the courtroom to establish the guilt or innocence of the accused.”
The “Ohio Property and Evidence Room Best Practices Manual” provides law enforcement officials with guidance on how to staff, organize, secure, document, and monitor property and evidence handling.
The manual is not intended as a one-size-fits-all model for every Ohio law enforcement agency, because agencies differ in staffing and other resources, as well as being subject to different provisions of the Ohio Revised Code.
But the manual gives every agency the tools to run an effective property and evidence room adapted to each agency’s unique circumstances.
The manual stresses that the integrity and security of a property and evidence room is not established by accident and is not maintained by luck. It occurs when a law enforcement agency creates and follows policies and procedures designed to:
• Keep the property and evidence room secure.
• Preserve evidence and property according to existing laws, courtroom requirements, and agency retention schedules.
• Establish and maintain accurate documentation, including inventory and chain of custody records.
• Ensure the physical safety and legal compliance of all personnel.
The manual notes that proper selection of property room staff is vital to success and explores the pros and cons of employing either sworn personnel or civilians in this role.
These personnel should be fully vetted with background checks, and their duties should be segregated to ensure that no one person controls intake, documentation, and disposition of evidence. Staff also should be trained to handle potentially dangerous property such as guns and drugs.
In addition to secure procedures and staff selection, the manual offers advice on security of property rooms, including locking devices, video surveillance, alarm systems, and access logs.
Detailed advice is offered for the handling and storage of guns, drugs, currency, and other valuables. These categories of property not only can pose dangers to property room personnel, but also are frequent targets of theft.
The manual provides guidance on how agencies can use periodic inventories and audits of property rooms to curb theft and expose lax procedures.
To help law enforcement apply these best practices, the manual includes sample documents such as property room access logs, inventory tracking documents, currency envelopes, release authorization forms, and property tags.
“The Attorney General and I believe that this manual gives law-enforcement agencies the tools they need to run effective and secure property and evidence rooms, and we encourage all agencies to compare their current procedures and facilities to those outlined in the manual,” Yost said.
A full copy of this manual is available online.
Attorney General DeWine Announces 2018 Distinguished Law Enforcement Achievement Awards
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Law Enforcement Achievement awards, which were presented today during the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Conference.
“I’m proud to take part in acknowledging the achievements of these law enforcement professionals, and I thank them and the rest of our law enforcement community throughout the state for all they do to protect Ohio families,” Attorney General DeWine said.
The recipients of the 2018 Law Enforcement Achievement Awards are:
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Valor Award: Sergeant David White (retired) and Patrolman Brian Duman, Uniontown Police Department
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Valor Award: Officer James Swearingen, Miami Township Police Department
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Group Achievement Award: Short North Posse Investigation and Prosecution Team
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Lifetime Achievement Award: Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert H. Jones (retired), Ohio Highway Patrol
- Mark Losey Distinguished Law Enforcement Service Award: Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, U.S. Attorney’s Office — Southern District of Ohio
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Training Award: Patrolman Kevin R. Davis, Akron Police Department
- Distinguished Law Enforcement Community Service Award: Trooper Juan “Ray” Santiago, Ohio State Highway Patrol
- Distinguished Civilian Leadership Award: Reverend Richard D. Ellsworth, Ohio State Highway Patrol
The award winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected by members of the 2018 Law Enforcement Awards Committee. The awards were presented during the Ohio Attorney General’s 2018 Law Enforcement Conference, where hundreds of law enforcement professionals convened to share information, learn new skills, and recognize the achievements of colleagues.
From Gov. John R. Kasich
If you would, please allow me a moment of your time to tell you why I will be voting for Mike DeWine.
When I began my term in 2011, the state was in a real mess. 350,000 lost jobs, a massive budget shortfall, 89 cents in the state’s Rainy Day Fund and no sustainable path forward.
In these past eight years, Ohio has really come back. We’re up more than 550,000 new private sector jobs, our budget is balanced and while these are remarkable accomplishments, we cannot take our foot off the gas now.
We have to keep going!
That is why I am asking you to support Mike DeWine to become Ohio’s next governor.
Mike has an aggressive jobs plan that will continue our strong momentum into the future, keep taxes low & continue our fight to end burdensome government regulations that hamper job creation. Read more at: MikeDeWine.com/Jobs
Mike is also an honorable person. He is a great family man. In this age of divisive politics, we can count on Mike DeWine to do what is right for people, and not play politics.
You can learn more about him at: MikeDeWine.com
Blue Label Digital Printing Expands Footprint in Lancaster, Ohio, Investing $1 Million
Columbus, Ohio – Blue Label Digital Printing, a label printing company specializing in custom label manufacturing, has announced plans to expand its facility in Lancaster, Ohio, investing a total of $1 million and creating 30 new jobs. Hiring for production planning, prepress, business development and manager positions will begin by year end of 2018.
Blue Label Digital Printing has reached capacity at its existing location in Lancaster and requires additional space for equipment to meet business and industry demands. The 20,000-square-foot expansion will allow the company to continue its rapid growth, providing custom packaging to the craft brewing industry. The investment will be used to expand the existing building, update the on-site infrastructure as well as purchase new machinery and equipment.
“The Columbus Region has been integral to our company’s success and history and we’re excited to grow our footprint there,” said Blue Label Digital Printing President Andrew Boyd. “The local talent and available business resources made our expansion in Lancaster an easy choice.”
Blue Label Digital Printing has been a part of the Lancaster manufacturing community since 1957, originally as One Write Company, a producer of envelopes and forms. The company’s Blue Label division focuses on the production of custom packaging for the food and beverage industries. Its One Write division continues to provide envelopes for churches and other non-profit institutions.
“Blue Label Digital Printing is a core Lancaster company, and we’re thrilled it’s expanding and creating new jobs,” said Lancaster Director of Economic Development Mike Pettit. “Lancaster offers the strong manufacturing capabilities and highly skilled workforce needed to help this company grow.”
The Columbus Region represents the future of new manufacturing. Alongside traditional industry giants, the next generation of visionary leaders is emerging with new goods for the modern consumer. More than 1,700 manufacturers employ more than 85,000 people. Lancaster is located in Fairfield County, which is home to an estimated 154,733 residents. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 9.5 percent of Fairfield County’s employment.
“Blue Label Digital Printing’s expansion in the City of Lancaster will create new jobs and enable the company to fulfill growing customer demand on the West Coast and beyond,” said JobsOhio Managing Director for Advanced Manufacturing Glenn Richardson. “This investment speaks to the company’s confidence in attracting high-quality talent from Fairfield County to support its growth in North American and international markets.”
About Blue Label Digital Printing
Blue Label Digital Printing is a label and packaging printing company specializing in custom label manufacturing for beer, wine, specialty foods, spirits, health and beauty, e-juice and more. The company uses high end digital technology to produce high quality, custom packaging with industry best turnaround. Learn more at BlueLabelDigital.com.
Candid To Create Customer Care Center in Columbus Region, Creating 150 New Jobs
Columbus, Ohio – Candid, a rapidly growing orthodontic technology company specializing in direct-to-consumer invisible aligners, has announced plans to create a high-end customer care center in the Columbus Region. Candid will invest $850,000 for equipment and leasehold improvements. The company plans to create 150 new jobs, including customer operations specialists, sales representatives, lab associates and associated management positions.
Candid’s new customer care center, which will be its first outside of New York City, will allow the company to continue its rapid growth strategy while supporting its customer base. The nearly 15,000-square-foot facility will have office and lab functions, with Candid moving its lab functions from Austin, TX to its new location in Ohio. While Candid is still in the process of finding a permanent location in the area, the brand is committed to investing in Central Ohio for their long term regional headquarters.
“Central Ohio offers many resources for Candid to support our customers and achieve long-term growth,” said Nick Greenfield, CEO of Candid. “The Columbus Region provides us with a bountiful talent pool and high quality of life to help us continue our expansion. We look forward to working with the City of Columbus to find a permanent location for Candid.”
Based in New York City, Candid is an orthodontic technology company using advanced telemedicine and innovative 3D printing to make oral healthcare more accessible than ever. The company provides customers with access to experienced orthodontists and one-on-one care, seven days a week by phone, video call and email.
“Candid’s investment establishes this innovative, fast-growing orthodontic technology company in Ohio,” said Aaron Pitts, JobsOhio senior managing director. “We and Columbus 2020 are excited to welcome Candid’s largest U.S. operations and 150 new jobs to the Columbus Region.”
Technology companies in Central Ohio are thriving thanks to its robust talent pool. In fact, the Columbus Region was ranked No.1 for tech talent among small markets by CBRE in 2017 and as a top 10 metro area for STEM jobs by CIO in 2016. In addition to Candid, the Columbus Region is home to a range of successful and innovative tech companies including CoverMyMeds, Central Ohio’s first “unicorn” exit, IBM and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Candid provides direct-to-consumer clear aligners for 65% less than the cost of traditional in-office solutions. The Company’s nationwide provider network, led by Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Lynn Hurst, features orthodontists averaging more than twenty years in practice. Candid’s core mission is to increase affordability and access to dental care by leveraging modern telehealth practices to diagnose, treat, and monitor orthodontic cases. Candid was co-founded by a team of startup veterans with experience across healthcare, hospitality, tech, and finance at companies such as Lyft, BCG, WeWork and Blackstone. Candid is based in New York, NY and was founded in 2017. Learn more at candidco.com.
About Columbus 2020
As the economic development organization for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus
Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at ColumbusRegion.com.
Attorney General DeWine Seeks Reimbursement from Two Cleveland Used Car Sellers Following Title Problems
(CLEVELAND)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced consumer protection lawsuits against two different Cleveland used car sellers accused of failing to deliver vehicle titles to Ohio consumers.
One lawsuit was filed against Buckeye Motor Group Ltd., operating at 4740 W. 150th St. in Cleveland, and another lawsuit was filed against North Coast Car Credit LLC, last operating at 14550 Lorain Ave.
In both cases, consumers complained that they did not receive the title to a vehicle they bought from the dealership. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office assisted consumers, in some cases making payments from the Title Defect Recision Fund, which helps resolve certain title problems. Payments from the fund totaled over $73,800 in the Buckeye Motor Group case and over $35,000 in the North Coast Car Credit case. Overall, 47 complaints were filed against Buckeye Motor Group, and about 30 complaints were filed against North Coast Car Credit.
The Attorney General’s lawsuits, both filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, seek reimbursement for the Title Defect Recision Fund, reimbursement for affected consumers, and an order to prohibit the dealerships’ operators from committing any further violations.
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.