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Suspect opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh
Suspect opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh

Update: 10/27/2018 4:38 PM EST

Authorities confirmed 11 people died and injuring six others, including four police officers, before being taken into custody.
A suspect opened fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, this morning, killing at least 8 people and injuring several others, local officials say.

He is reported to have shouted anti-Semitic abuse.

The suspect, a 46-year-old man, walked in and apparently shouted “all Jews must die” as he opened fire on the worshipers.

Officers who arrived on the scene took fire, with one injured. “Multiple victims were found on multiple floors when officers began searching the building.”

“Just before 11 a.m., officers encountered the suspect on the 3rd floor, leading to a gunfight in which two more officers were shot. The suspect retreated into a room but surrendered about 15 minutes later.”

Three officers are among those injured, and reports say that at least eight people have been killed.

The suspect’s name has now been released as Robert Bowers.

“The shooting in Pittsburgh this morning is an absolute tragedy,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans.”

“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.”

“Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said all residents of the neighborhood are required to stay inside their homes until further notice.”

President Donald Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and said “looks like multiple fatalities.”

“In 2010, Tree of Life Congregation – founded more than 150 years ago – merged with Or L’Simcha to form Tree of Life (asterisk) Or L’Simcha.”

The synagogue is a concrete building, featuring rows of stained-glass windows illustrating the story of creation, the acceptance of God’s law, the “life cycle” and “how human-beings should care for the earth and one another,” according to its website.

Among its treasures is a “Holocaust Torah,” rescued from Czechoslovakia

“Just three days before the shooting, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers posted a column on the congregation’s website, noting that people make time to attend funerals, but not for life’s happy occasions.”

“There is a story told in the Talmud of a wedding procession and a funeral procession heading along parallel roads, with the roads intersecting,” Myers wrote just four days ago. “The question asked is: when they meet at the fork, which procession goes first, funeral or wedding? The correct answer is wedding, as the joy of the couple takes precedence. In fact, the funeral procession is to move out of sight so that their joy is not lessened.”

“We value joy so much in Judaism that upon taking our leave from a funeral or a shiva house, the customary statement one makes (in Yiddish) is ‘nor oyf simches’ – only for s’machot,” Myers wrote. “While death is inevitable and a part of life, we still take our leave with the best possible blessing, to meet at joyous events. And so I say to you: nor oyf simches!”

There is no other information on the suspect, but he has been taken into custody.

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