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A shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh leaves at least eight dead and more injured after a gunman opened fire on civilians Saturday morning, according to the police. The suspect, identified as Robert Bowers, 48, allegedly yelled, “All Jews must die,“ before opening fire at attendants of Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.
Four police officers were also injured, though none of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening. The suspect is currently in custody.
Witnesses said the shooting happened shortly after the service began, around 9:45AM. Some people were able to barricade themselves in the basement of the building after they heard gunfire.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement shortly after the shooting. “The shooting in Pittsburgh this morning is an absolute tragedy,” the statement says, “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.”
President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, “Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought. Spoke with Mayor and Governor to inform them that the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way.”
Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought. Spoke with Mayor and Governor to inform them that the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way. I will speak to the media shortly and make further statement at Future Farmers of America.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
The NYPD tweeted that it has deployed officers at “places of worship in New York City as a precaution.
Following the shooting in PA, we are deploying heavy weapons teams as well as @NYPDCT & @NYPDSpecialops officers to houses of worship across the city. Currently, there is no nexus to NYC but we ask that you remain alert and If you see anything suspicious contact— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 27, 2018
Trump also took the opportunity to encourage Second Amendment rights, saying that the destruction at the synagogue could have been lessened if people inside were armed. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better,” he said while speaking to press at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
He also stated that incidents like the shooting in Squirrel Hill should “bring the death penalty into vogue.”
2:34 CT: The Washington Post reports that 11 have died in the shooting.
Stéphanie Fillion is a French-Canadian journalist covering politics and foreign affairs in Montreal, Canada. She has worked for Radio-Canada in Vancouver and was a San Paolo fellow at La Stampa in Turin. In 2015, she won the Eu-Canada Young Journalist Award. She holds an M.A. in Journalism, Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. in Comparative Politics, History and Italian Studies from McGill University. Her work appeared in outlets such as Quartz, Vice News, Ipolitics, and PassBlue.