Authorities reportedly took a suspect into custody after a deadly shooting attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff
Police said a suspect was in custody after a shooting caused “multiple casualties” at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.
According to CBS News the shooter killed eight people and wounded a number of other.
Three officers were also shot in the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
A law enforcement official identified the suspect as white male Robert Bowers who is in his 40s. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
A screenshot of Bowers’ profile on Gab, a Twitter-like social network for the “alt-right,” included the quote, “Jews are the children of Satan.” His last message on the platform read: “HIAS likes to bring invaders to kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
HIAS was an apparent reference to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organization that “work[s] with local social service organizations around the country to welcome refugees and help them integrate into their communities and build new lives,” according to its website.
Police spokesman Chris Togneri said police have no more information at this time because they were still trying to clear the building and determine if any more threats exist.
The synagogue is located at the intersection of Wilkins and Shady avenues. The tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.
Jeff Finkelstein of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh told WPXI that organization’s security officer has notified all JCC synagogues and that they are on modified lockdown.
President Donald Trump said he was monitoring the shooting. In a tweet, Trump encouraged people to take shelter and, commenting “looks like multiple fatalities.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called the shooting an “absolute tragedy.”
“We must all pray and hope for no more loss of life,” Wolf said. “But we have been saying ‘this one is too many’ for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way.”
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, commented, “We all feel the pain of the murder of eight Jews at a Shabbat service. We will stand together like a rock against hatred and against those who try to harm Jews all over the world ”
The ambassador added, “I send condolences to the families of the murdered and a speedy recovery for the wounded. The entire Jewish people now stands alongside the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.”