UPDATE: 1:21 PM PT: During a press conference, Wendell Hissrich, Allegheny Director of Public Safety; Chief Scott Schubert from the Pittsburgh Police Department; Bob Jones, FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent; Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and others addressed the tragic shooting Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Hissrich said that there were 11 fatalities as a result of the shooting. No children were harmed, but six adults were injured, including four police officers. The total did not include the suspect, who was transported to a hospital for undisclosed treatment.
Special Agent Jones said that the actions were hateful and said it was “the most horrific crime scene” in his 22 years of service. He also said that there was no knowledge of gunman Robert D. Bowers’ actions before the incident. His full motive was unknown and they believe he was acting alone.
Gov. Wolf said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. He, as well as all who spoke, expressed his condolences to the Jewish community. “Any attack on one community of faith is an attack on all communities of faith,” said Wolf.
UPDATE 12:55 PM PT: Law enforcement officials have said that at least 10 people are dead after suspected gunmen Robert D. Bowers opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday morning, according to the New York Times.
It has also reported that Bowers has a history of posting anti-Semitic remarks and slurs on social media, particularly on Gab, a social network. He also posted photos of his guns as well as his shooting practice.
SECOND UPDATE: The shooting suspect has been identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers. He is in custody, but officials declined to say if he was acting alone. However, they stressed that they believe there is no other threat to the overall community.
Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director, said there were 16 overall injuries, but declined to state the number of fatalities. He indicated that it was a “horrific crime scene” and said it was one of the worst he has seen. Hissrich said four policemen have been injured, but none had life-threatening conditions. The other injured victims are more seriously injured, he said, but did not provide details.
A further press conference will be held at 4 PM ET will update, Hissrich said. He added that it is a federal investigation and the FBI would be handling the investigation and the crime was classified as a hate crime.
UPDATE: Police report the gunman has surrendered and is in custody. Three officers have been shot, but police provided no further details, as they are still clearing the Synagogue. NBC News, quoting senior law enforcement officials, is reporting at least eight people are dead, with 12 overall injured. NBC added that It is believed the suspect was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and multiple handguns.
The shooter, described as a white male with a beard, surrendered “with a pistol in his waist band and one strapped to his ankle,” according to a tweet by local reporter Ross Guidotti of CBS-affiliate KDKA. He said SWAT officers grabbed the man’s weapons.
EARLIER: Police in Pittsburgh are responding to an active shooter at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a well-known Jewish community in the city.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reports that at least seven people have been confirmed dead, possibly more.
Police arriving at the scene exchanged gunfire with a suspect. Law officials have told nearby residents to stay in their homes, and reports indicate the Synagogue has people barricaded inside the building, with several managing to call police on mobile phones.
Saturday services were being held at the Synagogue when the shooting happened, according to reports.
Shabbat morning services began at 9:45 a.m. at Tree of Life Congregation, according to its website. The Conservative congregation was founded more than 150 years and is led by Rabbi Hazan Jeffrey Myers, who came to the synagogue in August 2017.
Saturday mornings are when Shabbat is observed in the Jewish faith and is typically a busy time at synagogues.
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