Police officials say a suspect has been charged following a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday morning that resulted in multiple casualties.
The Associated Press reports the shooting took place Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is the hub of the city’s Jewish community.
The victims range in age from 54 to 97 and include two brothers and a husband and wife, according to a list of the victims released by the County of Allegheny:
Joyce Fineberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh; Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township; Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough; Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh; David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill; Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg; Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg; Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh; Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh; Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburgh.
The shooter has been identified by officials as Robert Bowers. He has been charged with 29 criminal charges, including 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault, and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. According to the New York Times, he entered the synagogue with an AR-15 assault rifle and at least three handguns during a bris, which is a circumcision ceremony, and began shooting into the crowd while shouting anti-Semitic slurs. Robert Jones, a special agent in charge of Pittsburgh, said the aftermath was the “most horrific crime scene” he had seen in his 22 years with the FBI.
The Washington Post reports the suspect spoke of killing Jews before surrendering to police around 11 a.m ET. After being apprehended, he told officers that Jews were committing genocide to his people and he wanted them all to die.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the incident is the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the history of the United States.
“It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age,” the ADL said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this violence occurs at time when ADL has reported a historic increase in both anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Semitic online harassment. As we mourn those lost and search for answers, ADL will remain steadfast in its mission to fight anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it may occur.”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement: "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. My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need.”
President Donald Trump responded to the incident on Twitter as it unfolded, writing, “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!”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
HIAS, a global Jewish non-profit that protects refugees, said in a statement: “There are no words to express how devastated we are by the events in Pittsburgh this morning. This loss is our loss, and our thoughts are with Tree of Life Congregation, our local partner Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) of Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. As we try to process this horrifying tragedy, we pray that the American Jewish community and the country can find healing.”
Ivanka Trump and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also responded to the shooting on Twitter. "All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh. We must unite against hatred & evil," Trump wrote.
America is stronger than the acts of a depraved bigot and anti-semite.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 27, 2018
All good Americans stand with the Jewish people to oppose acts of terror & share the horror, disgust & outrage over the massacre in Pittsburgh.
We must unite against hatred & evil.
God bless those affected
Saddened and appalled by the cowardly act of evil committed at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We stand in total solidarity with the victims and all of the Jewish community against bigotry and hate.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 27, 2018
This story was originally published on October 27, 2018, and additional reporting was added.