Pittsburgh the latest site of hate crime attacks
PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) A gunman burst into a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday morning Sabbath services, killing at least eight people before surrendering, according to local news reports.
The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill was reportedly full of congregants when the shooter entered and opened fire at around 10 a.m., according to KDKA.
“There are multiple casualties,” Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Jason Lando said, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
The shooter, described as a white male, surrendered “with a pistol in his waist band and one strapped to his ankle,” local reporter Ross Guidotti of CBS-affiliate KDKA tweeted. He said SWAT officers grabbed the man’s weapons.
Several people were rescued. Police reportedly received several calls from people barricaded inside the Synagogue. 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 Trump said he was watching the event unfolding. “People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!” he tweeted.
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.”