HARRISBURG — As Robert Gregory Bowers, the man accused in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, appeared in federal court to face charges of killing 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania House Leaders, including Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny); Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana); Majority Whip Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster); Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland); and Democratic Whip Mike Hanna (D-Clinton/Centre), offered the following statement:
“Pennsylvania has always been a sanctuary for those seeking the right to peacefully practice their religious beliefs. In fact, William Penn specifically founded our Commonwealth to ensure a person’s right to worship was inalienable and granted every Pennsylvania resident protection from religious persecution in his Charter of Privileges in 1701. We remain steadfast in preserving the promises our founding father made to the people who call Pennsylvania home 317 years later.
“As Pennsylvania grieves for those who died and prays for a speedy recovery of those who are wounded, our thoughts, prayers and condolences also are with the individuals and families affected by the Sabbath morning attack in Pittsburgh.
“We send our unqualified gratitude to Pittsburgh’s brave first responders who answered the call to save human lives, some of whom were among the victims and remain hospitalized.
“We stand united as Pennsylvanians to condemn all acts of violence and hate, which have no place in our society and will not be tolerated within our Commonwealth.”
Representative Mike Turzai
Pennsylvania House of Representatives