Published: Sun, October 28, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

NY authorities secure synagogues after Pittsburgh attack

NY authorities secure synagogues after Pittsburgh attack

After the attack and as he was leaving the building, Bowers encountered a law enforcement officer and the two exchanged gunfire, officials said.

Other Jewish organizations released statements concerning the shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday.

A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Robert Bowers and said he is in his 40s.

NBC reporter Tom Winter said in a tweet that the suspect was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and multiple handguns.

He also says the crime scene is one of the worst many professionals have seen.

"The suspect's full motive is unknown but we believe he was acting alone", Jones added.

Three officers were also shot in the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

"Jews targeted on Shabbat morning at synagogue, a holy place of worship, is unconscionable".

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took the lead in the investigation, "as this falls under a hate crime", Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters near the synagogue. Saturday morning service is a critical time for the highly concentrated Jewish population of Squirrel Hill, where approximately 50 percent of Pittsburgh's Jewish community lives. The shooting also injured at least six people, including four police officers, authorities said.

Congregants inside the synagogue were attending a baby-naming ceremony, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro told the Associated Press.

According to initial reports, multiple people have been shot, but the exact number was not immediately known.

The gunman was eventually detained by police and taken to hospital for further medical care.

Bowers had not been charged as of Saturday afternoon.

"We are actively engaged with law enforcement to understand the extent of this anti-Semitic attack and we will work together with communities across the country to push back on prejudice wherever it appears", Greenblatt said in a second Twitter post.

"It is imperative that the neighbors in the community surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue stay in their houses and shelter in place", Lando said.

Pittsburgh tweeted that there is an active shooter in the area of Wilkins and Shady avenues, and the synagogue is at that intersection. People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered.

"We are continuously monitoring for issues and changing our plans to try and mitigate any potential risks to public safety", he said.

"Our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief". This was an anti-Semitic act. "It is an assault on humanity", the president said, reiterating remarks he'd made about the episode earlier in the day.

Bowers is said to be a Pittsburgh resident. "It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its ugly head".

The BBC's Dan Johnson in Washington said the shootings came at a tense time in the United States, after a week in which mail bombs were sent to critics of Mr Trump, ahead of crucial mid-term elections next month.

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