‘All Jews Must Die’: What You Must Know About Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
After gunman opened fire at a Jewish house of worship, president spoke of need to 'stiffen up' death penalty laws in U.S.
On a sleepy Saturday morning, many Americans awoke to the news that a shooter had terrorized members of the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during worship services, that he is now in police custody, and that he shot several police officers and a number of other individuals.
A reported 11 people are now dead and six more are injured as a result of the shooting.
The Tree of Life synagogue is a conservative Jewish congregation, as noted on its website.
Related: Shooter in Pittsburgh Is Now in Custody; Multiple Casualties, Officers Shot
As details of the shooting continue to emerge, here are 10 facts known thus far, as of late Saturday.
(Shown above left is Chris Togneri, spokesman for the Pittsburgh Police Department; on the right, a scene from the shooting this morning.)
1.) The shooting occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. It’s a predominantly Jewish community.
Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, told reporters on Saturday he believed 60 to 100 people were in the synagogue at the time of the incident.
2.) Eleven people were killed and six more injured. “‘The shooter surrendered to Pittsburgh police and was being transported to Mercy Hospital,’ said Curt Conrad, chief of staff for City Councilman Corey O’Connor,” CNN reported.
3.) Carnegie Mellon University, which is near the site of the shooting, issued a “shelter in place advisory” for the students on its campus. That was later lifted, given that the situation (as of about 1 p.m.) appeared to be stabilized (there had been questions raised earlier about the possibility of other shooters), according to Fox News.
4.) Eyewitnesses said the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die,” police sources told KDKA.
5.) Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued the following statement about the shooting:“The shooting in Pittsburgh this morning is an absolute tragedy. I have spoken with local leaders and my administration, and the Pennsylvania State Police will provide any resources to assist local law enforcement and first responders.”
“These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans,” he continued.
“My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need. We must all pray and hope for no more loss of life.”
“But we have been saying ‘this one is too many’ for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way. And in the aftermath of this tragedy, we must come together and take action to prevent these tragedies in the future. We cannot accept this violence as normal.”
6.) President Donald Trump issued a tweet almost immediately after news of the shooting, telling Americans, “Watching the events unfolding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement on the scene. People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!”
7.) Pennsylvania State Police tweeted that an “actor is in custody.” Though the suspect was not immediately named by authorities, by 1:30 p.m. authorities had identified him as Robert Bowers, according to Fox News reports.
8.) The shooter was said to be heavily armed and now wounded.
9.) He was identified as a 46-year-old white man.
10.) In statements to the press at Joint Base Andrews at 12:36 p.m., just before boarding Air Force One, President Trump said the local police did “an incredible job” of bringing this horrible incident to a swift end.
“Law enforcement was outstanding, as usual,” the president told the media.
He also praised the Pittsburgh community and noted the presence of violence around the globe.
He mentioned the importance of the death penalty — perpetrators should “pay the ultimate price,” he said, and noted future statements are forthcoming.
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