Shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue leaves multiple casualties

Officials confirm Eleven people have been killed and six injured after a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh on Saturday morning.

The gunman, Robert Bowers, reported to be 46, has been taken into custody after opening fire during a service at the synagogue. He is currently receiving treatment at the Mercy Hospital in the city.

The shooting took place during a service, as the local Jewish population gathered to mark the Sabbath. US media has reported that the gunman entered the service armed with two pistols and an assault rifle.

KDKA reported that the suspect was “crawling and injured” when he was taken by the SWAT team. Police officials told the local media that the gunman had been heard shouting “All Jews must die” as he entered the building.

The US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has said the killings were “reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation.” He confirmed that the Justice Department intends to file hate crime and other charges against the accused man.

Wendell Hissrich, head of public safety in Pittsburgh, told the US media that the crime scene is “Horrific. One of the worst I’ve ever seen and I’ve worked on plane crashes”. He also said that the incident “falls under a hate crime as it was a Jewish synagogue”.

Hissrich said that amongst the six who were injured, two of them were police officers, and two of them were members of the SWAT team that eventually apprehended the gunman.

Tom Wolfe, the governor of Pennsylvania, said in a tweet “this is an absolute tragedy” and that “all my thoughts right now are on the victims”. He also said “Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm’s way”.

During a press conference after the incident, President Trump said “this wicked act of mass murder was pure evil, hard to believe, and frankly something that is unimaginable”. He went on to say that “this was a anti-Semitic act” and that “you wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age”. He finished the conference by saying “there must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America, or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice”.

When asked by reporters in an earlier press conference, if gun control could have prevented this horrible attack, Trump said “If they had some kind of protection inside the temple maybe it could have been a very different situation.”

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, tweeted “I’m deeply shocked by the reports of a shooting at a synagogue in the US today. Our thoughts are with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and all those affected by this sickening and cowardly act”.

Words: Adam Kirkman | Subbing: Harry Lye

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