PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers fits the profile of a lone wolf, someone with few if any friends who cultivated a secret life of hate on the internet.
Bowers grew up in a home in Baldwin with his mother. He never graduated from Baldwin High School.
He kicked around town and lived in Dormont from 1999 to 2004.
Police said they had five encounters with him, four of those no more serious than a traffic citation.
But in 2004, police responded to Bowers’ apartment on what they call a medical situation. The chief says he is prohibited by law to speak about the nature of that call, but sources close to the investigation say Bowers threatened to kill himself.
According to those law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, officers responded to the potential suicide call and were able to talk Bowers out of killing himself. The same sources say Bowers agreed to voluntarily commit himself to a mental health clinic, but never followed through.
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Little is known about his life after that, just that he had found work as a truck driver — and he began posting virulent anti-Semitic statements on the internet and engaged in conspiracy theories about Jews and immigrants invading the country with the intent to overthrow America.
Investigators will now work to determine if those ravings were fueled by hate, mental illness or both.
Mental health records are confidential, but if there are any, they will be of interest to federal investigators who are trying to determine just how and why Bowers committed this horrible act.