Mother of alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter expresses grief, remorse for victims

Credit: WPXI-TV

Credit: WPXI-TV

The mother of alleged synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, who is accused of gunning down 11 people Saturday inside the Tree of Life Synagogue, is expressing grief and remorse over the attack.

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The Rev. Mark Schollaert told WPXI-TV that he knows Bowers and has been trying help his mother, Barbara Bolt, as she talks to authorities and processes the tragedy.

"It's been an emotional trauma for her as well," Schollaert said. "Her heart is really broken for all of the families involved."

Schollaert has been at the side of Barbara Bolt since Saturday, when she got the news that her only son, Robert Bowers, allegedly walked into the synagogue and fatally shot 11 people.

"We just want the community to know that Barb is broken-hearted and that we as a community with her are praying for the families," Schollaert said.

He said she is totally distraught and that her heart is absolutely broken for the victims and their families.

She wants them to know that she is sorry and that she is praying for them just as much as everyone else.

Schollaert said he knew Bowers, although Bowers did not attend his First Baptist Church in Monogahela.

Like many neighbors and former employers, Schollaert said the family did not know that Bowers was allegedly deeply involved in anti-Semitic online communities and posted hateful messages about Jewish people.

Newly released documents show several run-ins between Dormont police officers and Bowers when he lived there in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But the police chief said those incidents were minor and not indicative of an alleged mass murderer.

While FBI agents put together their case against Bowers, his mother wants the 11 victims' families and extended families to know that she is very sorry.

"Everybody will be forever changed and for that we are heartbroken," Schollaert said.

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