Saturday tragedy struck the Tree of Life Synagogue, located in Pittsburgh, when alleged gunman, Robert Bowers (46), opened fire leaving eleven dead, six wound, including four police officers.
Bowers was a frequent user of GAB, a social media website that investigators said, via ABC News, “is popular with white supremacists and the alt-right.”
According to a NBC News article that was posted Saturday, Bowers posted shortly before the shooting, writing, “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
The article go on to say that Bowers was also a frequent critic of the caravan of Migrants moving through Mexico, from Honduras. The article explains that Bowers apparently seemed to link those of the Jewish faith with the migrant caravan tying them together based on an image that shows, “refugees hopping onto the bed of a truck with a Star of David on the side.” The image according to NBC News has made it’s way around sites like 4chan and the “Russian propaganda operation USA Really.” Bowers allegedly, “reposted a screenshot of a video of the caravan that had aired on Fox News, as well as other networks, that does not mention the symbol.”
President Trump has used the caravan as a rallying point for voting for Republicans in several rallies that he’s had in the month of October. He has also called the caravan “an invasion,” writing on Twitter Monday morning, that the “Military is waiting for you!”
Friday the Department of Defense announced plans to provide “mission-enhancing capabilities to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southwest border. This assistance is in addition to the previously authorized support to CBP’s Operation Guardian Support mission.”
Monday The Wall Street Journal reported that according to U.S. Officials, “The U.S. military plans to deploy 5,000 troops to the southwest U.S. border in anticipation of a caravan of would-be asylum seekers and migrants currently moving northward in Mexico.”
According to the article the plan which the Pentagon has named, “Operation Faithful Patriot,” will place 1,800 troops in Texas, 1,700 in Arizona, and 1,500 in California. The troops, “will be drawn from about 10 U.S. Army installations and consist largely of military police and engineers,” and “U.S. Marines.”
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleen said Friday, via the WSJ, that at present there were no plans for the troops to “enforce immigration law,” he added a plan will be devised to ensure, “we can secure the ports (of entry) to prevent a large group from coming at one time.”
The Wall Street Journal notes that in previous operations, “under Presidents Bush and Obama, many troops carried out support roles from afar, an administration official said. During Operation Jump Start in 2007, for example, 6,000 troops were deployed, but only about 3,500 were in the field in the four border states.”
Bowers appeared in court on Monday, the New York Times reports he was flanked by two public defenders, who declined to have Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell “read the full criminal complaint and the penalties should he be found guilty.” According to the article Bowers has “twenty-nine criminal charges against him including, “obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs — a hate crime,” the article explains the hate crime charge can carry the death penalty. He was held without bail and is due back in court on Thursday.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are expected to visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning.