A gunman entered a Pittsburgh synagoguge Saturday morning and committed yet another mass shooting, according to police and multiple reports on the scene. CNN is reporting that at least 11 people have been killed at a mass shooting at a synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Additionally, six people were injured.
Bob Jones, the FBI Special Agent in Charge, said that was the “most horrific crime scene” he’s ever seen.
The police have arrested one shooter, who surrendered after injuring multiple police officers in the attack. The massacre occurred at the Tree of Life synagogue Saturday morning. Police were dispatched when they received reports of an active shooter. Details are currently minimal, but it was estimated that there would have been around 40 people attending the morning’s service. Three of the wounded include police officers.
Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando told reporters that there had been “multiple” casualties, and he urged those living near the synagogue to remain indoors.
Fred Rabner, a member of the synagogue, told CNN it was a “close-knit community,” and that everyone was calling around to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Everyone is just shaken up and upset,” Rabner said. “It’s awful, it’s just awful.”
The shooter, currently unidentified, reportedly made anti-Semitic comments during the incident.
Tree of Life is a conservative synagogue, which term doesn’t describe its politics. Conservative is a denomination within Judaism.
President Donald Trump addressed the shooting, first on Twitter, then on CNN, implying the synagogue should have been armed. “They didn’t’ have any protection, and that is so sad to see,” Trump told the news network. “The results could have been much better.” Trump did not acknowledge the armed police officers who were among those wounded.
The shooting is the latest violent event in a week filled with horror. On Friday authorities captured a suspect charged in a series of pipe bombs mailed to 10 Democratic and media targets throughout the week, none of which exploded. On Wednesday, a man, Gregory Bush, shot and killed two African-Americans in and around a Kentucky supermarket.
Update: A suspect has reportedly been identified: 46-year-old Robert Bowers. His gun was licensed, and he’s purchased six firearm purchases since 1996. Bowers is a member of the social networking service Gab, which offers itself as an alternative to Twitter for people who want unrestricted access on speech. Shortly before the shooting, Bowers posted on Gab that he “can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Bowers also wrote a post about HIAS, the Jewish refugee advocacy group. “HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,” he posted. He claimed that Jewish people were helping transport members of the migrant caravans currently making their way to the American border in Latin America.
Bowers’ Gab account frequently featured anti-Semitic postings. Gab claimed that after the incident, they backed up Bowers’ data, suspended his account, and contacted the FBI. They also posted that it “unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence…Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.”
Bowers also posted pictures of his guns, referring to them as “my glock family.”
Governor Tom Ridge has said that the incident is being investigated a hate crime.
The total casualties has also risen to 11.