US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wasted no words on Sunday when asked about the synagogue shooting suspect who killed 11 people over the weekend.
“This individual — I won’t even call him a man — he’s the poorest excuse for a man you could ever come up with. Who would use a weapon in a house of worship, on unarmed innocent people and even shoot four policemen, then surrender himself. This is a coward. He is not a man by any definition that we use in the Department of Defense,” Mattis said while talking to reporters aboard a military aircraft en route to the Czech Republic, Military Times reported Sunday.
On Saturday, 46-year-old Robert Bowers opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
Eleven people were killed and six others were injured, including four police officers.
Bowers has been charged with hate crimes.
He is charged on 29 different counts, including 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder, as well as several counts of two hate crimes: “obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer,” CNN has reported.
The shooting took place during Saturday Shabbat services, and there were other congregations also holding services at the same time.
On Sunday, Mattis also said the shooting has hard “on all of us who believe in freedom of religion as one of our most fundamental rights that our country was founded on,” Military Times reported.
“The U.S. military — what I expect from our troops and what I see of them — is men and women working respectfully alongside each other, people who look at other people’s religion as a private matter to be respected,” Matis said, Military Times reported. “The U.S. military, I believe, represents what it’s all about in America where you work together to solve things. But also in the U.S. military, our job is to protect this democracy. We’re devoted, focused like a laser beam, on that.”
President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted about the mass shooting.
“All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries…” Trump wrote.
“…This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate,” he added.