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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting leaves 11 dead

Posted at 3:00 PM, Oct 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-27 17:04:31-04

Story by Justin Carissimo, CBS News

A gunman opened fire inside a busy synagogue during a service Saturday in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people and injuring six others. The suspected gunman, identified as 48-year-old Robert Bowers, surrendered and was taken into custody.

Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Congregation and indiscriminately fired inside while shouting, “All Jews must die,” police sources told CBS Pittsburgh/KDKA. He was armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns, officials said.

Six of those injured were treated at local hospitals, KDKA reports. Four police officers were injured during the shooting. Their injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.

Wendell Hissrich, the city’s public safety director, said there was no further threat to the public. He said the shooting is being investigated as a federal hate crime. “It’s a very horrific crime scene,” he said in a news conference. “It’s one of the worst that I’ve seen, and I’ve been on some plane crashes. It’s very bad.”

Tree of Life is located in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is known as the heart of the local Jewish community. Gov. Tom Wolf arrived at the scene Saturday and called the attack an “absolute tragedy.”

“These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans,” Wolf said in a statement. “My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need.”

11 dead, 6 injured in shooting

Eleven people were killed and six others were injured in Saturday’s shooting, Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh’s public safety director, said in a news conference.

Hissrich said no children were killed in the shooting and four of the injured were police officers.

Authorities have not released names of the victims.

Trump will not cancel Illinois rally

Speaking at the Future Farmers of America Convention, President Trump said he would not cancel his rally in Murphysboro, Illinois, on Saturday afternoon.

“At first I was thinking I will cancel. Then I said, ‘we can’t let evil change our life and change our schedule. We can’t do that.’ We have to go and do wherever we were going to do or otherwise we give them too much credit. We make them too important. And you go with a heavy heart but you go.

Trump: “We should stiffen up” death penalty laws

President Trump called the shooting was “far more devastating” than anyone previously thought. Mr. Trump said there would have been a different outcome if the synagogue had an armed guard at the building.

“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him, maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly,” Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Saturday, adding that the U.S. should “stiffen up” its laws on the death penalty.

“When people do this, they should get the death penalty,” he added. “And they shouldn’t have to wait years and years. I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue.”

What we know about suspect Robert Bowers

Robert Bowers, 48, was identified as the gunman in the deadly attack, law enforcement sources tell CBS News and KDKA.

His online activity shows he posted anti-Semitic threats and conspiracy theories in the weeks before Saturday’s shooting. Bowers was a regular user on Gab, a social network often associated with white supremacists and extremists.

Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Congregation shooter. The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners.