A gunman attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue during church services on Saturday morning, killing several people and injuring three policemen, among others.
The suspect opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue during a baptism ceremony, Philadelphia Attorney General said Associated Press . He was later arrested and identified by a law enforcement officer such as Robert Bowers, 46, a man with a history of posting anti-Semitic statements online.
Pittsburgh officials said at least six people had been injured in the incident, four of them police officers. Law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation said early reports indicated several deaths within the building.
"It's a very horrific crime scene," said Wendell Hissirch, head of security at Pittsburgh, to reporters in the afternoon after Bowers was arrested for the worst of what I've seen. And I was in some plane crashes. "
Worshiper Stephen Weiss recalled having heard shots late Saturday morning and fled the sanctuary." We had services in the chapel when we heard a loud noise in the lobby, "he told the Tribune Review.
KDKA reported that the police had put the suspect in front of the synagogue and injured three officers in a firefight
During a stalemate, the suspect repeatedly claimed that he wanted to kill or kill Jews, police dispatchers reported on the radio.
He surrendered to the police around 11:00 am The dispatchers said he had a pistol on his KDKA reported being crawled.
The Tree of Life synagogue is located in a leafy enclave near Carnegie Mellon University – one of the largest Jewish neighborhoods in the United States Its "traditional, progressive and egalitarian" community, founded in 1864, is Pittsburgh's oldest Jewish community.
It is "The center of Jewish life on Shabbat morning," said Rabbi Aaron Bisno of the Rodef Shalom Congregation, two blocks away.
It is unclear how many people were in the synagogue at the time of the shooting. In an online calendar, a Shabbat service would have been scheduled on Saturday at 9.45.
The main sanctuary of the synagogue, a cave-like space with towering stained-glass windows that depicts the creation story, can hold up to 1,250 guests.
"This is an absolute tragedy," wrote Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf (D) on Twitter. "These senseless acts of violence are not what we Americans are."
The New York The Department of Police said that after the shootings in Pittsburgh, they were to send teams to places of worship.
President Trump told reporters later at Andrews base that the shooting was "far more devastating than one would have thought" did not offer details. "It's a dreadful, terrible thing to do with hatred in our country, frankly, and around the world, and something needs to be done," he said.
He said the death penalty should come in vogue "And suggested that armed security made a difference When asked if all churches and synagogues should have armed security, Trump said," It's certainly an option.
When asked if he should review gun laws, Trump said, "It has little to do with it. If they had protection inside, the results would have been much better. "
Trump has often suggested that more armed people could prevent mass shootings after rampaging in Parkland, Florida, and Orlando in recent years. Armed police officers were present at both these mass shootings and others that have occurred
It is unclear whether the synagogue has taken precautions in a blog post for the synagogue entitled, "We deserve better", Rabbi Jeffrey Myers criticized the elected leaders for their lack of action in the adoption of weapons legislation in the course of school shooting at the Parkland School.
"Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the midterm elections, I fear that the status quo will remain unchanged, and school shootings will continue," wrote Myers.
"I should not to include in my daily morning prayers that God is above my wife and daughter, be teachers, keep watch and keep them safe. Where are our leaders?
The Tree of Life congressmen practice conservative Judaism, a Jewish denomination that does not indicate political affiliation.
Shooting occurs during a sharp rise in anti-Semitic activity in the US, according to an Anti-Defamation League report From 2016 to 2017, cases of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and assault increased 57 percent, the largest one-year jump since data collection began in the 1970s by ADL.
"This is an all-time high" At the time, Greenblatt told Tara Bahrampour of Swiss Post, "We live in a time when extremists feel encouraged and increasingly active. They feel empowered, they almost feel integrated. "
Ben Opie, 55, lives opposite Tree, saying his wife set off for voluntary service at about 11:00 am when the police yelled at her to go back to the house Officers slammed the neighbors' doors and told them to stay locked up.
Two hours later, many of the police vehicles had left the neighborhood, Opie said he was still trembling.
"It's just," said Opie paused, his voice shaking. "Sorry, it shakes me more than usual.
Joel Achenbach, Devlin Barrett, Mark Berman, Kristine Phillips, Mike Rosenwald, and Katie Zezima all contributed to this evolving story.