A gunman has killed at least four people and injured 11 others in a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States Saturday morning. The shooter is now in police custody.
At 10:00 Saturday morning, during Shabbat services, Robert Bowers, 46, entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and opened fire. AP and Reuters report four have been killed. Local media reported a higher number saying at least eight had been killed. Three officers were also wounded in the attack.
Police sources say Bowers walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die,” according to local news station KDKA. He was taken into police custody after being injured.
Mimi Botkin, a retired teacher, was attending services at a nearby synagogue when the shooting occurred.
“We were told to shelter in place, and the only thing we knew at first was that two people had been shot,” Botkin told teleSUR. “We were told to shelter in place and then the next thing we heard was, ‘get out of there as fast as you can and get home.’”
She says her husband, who was home at the time, heard the gunshots.
“I am so friggin’ scared because I may very well know some of the people who were shot," Botkin says.
Close to 100 people may have been in the synagogue at the time, according to figures given by the former President of the Tree of Life, Michael Eisenberg. The actual number remains unclear.
Eisenberg said usually 40 people would have been attending the Tree of Life service in the “main part of the building.” While in the basement below, New Light’s service would also have about 30 to 40 people and the Dor Hadash congregation in the rabbi’s study room would have about 15 people, he said.
Pittsburgh police have advised residents to remain in their homes. The neighborhood is home to much of the city’s Jewish community.
Pennsylvania governor, Tom Wolf, says his thoughts are with the victims and families
“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,” Wolf says.
Those injured have been taken to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for treatment.
“This morning, as people were murdered as they prayed, every jew suffered,” Botkin says.