Washington, Nov 1 (AFP) The man suspected of gunning down 11 people at a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal charges that could see him sentenced to death, US media reported.Also Read - United States Issues its First Passport With 'X' Gender Marker | Details Inside

Robert Bowers, who appeared in court in handcuffs, did not speak except to say that he understood the charges against him, and his attorney entered a not guilty plea for him, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Also Read - Flying to US? Fresh Guidelines Issued For International Travel | Read New Rules

Authorities say Bowers, 46, burst into the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday with an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns, killing 11 worshippers at Sabbath services and wounding six other people, including four police officers. Also Read - Woman Raped on Train While Passengers Remain Mute Spectators

He is now facing 44 charges including federal hate crimes in connection with the shooting.

The charges allege that he carried out the killings while violating the victims’ constitutional right to the free exercise of religious beliefs — which is considered a hate crime under US law.

Under the expanded charges, he could face the death penalty, or life in prison without parole followed by a consecutive sentence of 535 years’ imprisonment, the Justice Department said.

He was taken into custody after being wounded in a shootout with police and transferred to a local hospital. (AFP) KUN KUN

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.