Sunday, 16 December, 2018

8 killed, 12 injured in shooting at synagogue in Pittsburgh, US

Active shooter at Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh At least four dead in shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue
Andrew Cummings | 28 October, 2018, 07:17

As The Washington Post reported on Saturday, Robert Bowers, 46, was taken into custody on Saturday engaging in a gun battle with police at the Tree of Life synagogue in the western Pennsylvania city, where witnesses told police he shouted anti-Semitic slurs and then opened fire with an assault rifle.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said Saturday afternoon no children were killed or injured in the attack, which occurred during a baby-naming ceremony.

Police said the suspect had three handguns and an assault-style rife at the shooting.

A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Robert Bowers and said he is in his 40s.

Five minutes before the first emergency calls about the synagogue attack, CNN reported, Bowers posted the following message on Gab: "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered".

"Before going any further, I want to address the disgusting shooting that took place earlier today".

Other social media posts believed to be from Bowers show pictures of several Glock pistols and derogatory remarks about refugees, Jewish people and President Donald Trump. Pittsburgh Police told media that 12 people were shot, including eight to ten people who were killed; three of the injured are police officers.

Jones said the scene of todays shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation was "the most horrific crime scene I have seen" in 22 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He added: "It's one of the worst I've ever seen".

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Just before taking the stage, Trump again shared his condolences for what he called "the mass murder of Jewish Americans".

The Tree of Life Synagogue, whose congregation was founded more than 150 years ago, is located in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood that is historically the heart of Jewish life in greater Pittsburgh. Preventing refugees in the caravan from entering the USA has been a major talking point among both right-wing commentators and President Donald Trump, who has spoken about it in recent pre-midterm election stump speeches.

Toronto's Chief of Police Mark Saunders said that his force "stands with our Jewish community condemning the senseless violence against those in Pittsburgh".

Eleven people died and six sustained injuries including two in critical condition during the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, where congregants were attending a prayer service.

Some attendees blamed the shooting on the nation's political climate, and said they took little solace in the planned visit by Trump. "Today, we are all Squirrel Hill".

People gather on a corner near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where a shooter opened fire Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. According to reports, four individuals were deemed dead when police arrived. "He was able to escape through one of the side exit doors we had made sure was functioning", Eisenberg said.

"We are dedicating the entire resources of my office to this federal hate crime investigation and prosecution", USA attorney for western Pennsylvania Scott Brady told reporters.

Pittsburgh tweeted that there is an active shooter in the area of Wilkins and Shady avenues, and the synagogue is at that intersection. He said the shooting is being investigated as a federal hate crime.

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