Robert Bowers, the suspect in the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday services, repeatedly made anti-Semitic posts on social media.
The ire in many of the posts, including one from just hours before the shooting started, was aimed at a group called HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” the post read. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
In another post, Bowers wrote: "You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided," and linked to the National Refugee Shabbat event, which was celebrated Oct. 20 at more than 300 gatherings across the U.S. and Canada.
So, what is HIAS?
The group originally formed in 1881 to help Jewish people flee pogroms in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe and now helps persecuted refugees from all countries.
“There are no words to express how devastated we are by the events in Pittsburgh this morning,” the group said Saturday in a statement. “As we try to process this horrifying tragedy, we pray that the American Jewish community and the country can find healing.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.