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Victims Of Saturday's Deadly Synagogue Shooting Identified

Virginia Alvino Young
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto addresses the media at a press conference following a mass shooting at a Squirrel Hill synagogue on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

“In Pittsburgh, we’re pragmatic. We find solutions to problems. We will not try to rationalize your irrational behavior...we will work to eradicate it.”



Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and several public safety officials addressed the media Sunday morning following yesterday’s deadly shooting at a synagogue in Squirrel Hill. He emphasized the city’s resiliency, saying it would not tolerate hatred. The mass shooting left 11 dead and six injured.

The victims’ names were released, which included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. Their ages ranged from 54 to 97.



Credit Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner


Few details about the alleged shooter — who has been identified as Robert Bowers — were released.


Pittsburgh FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones said he didn’t know why Bowers chose this particular synagogue, but that he moved through the building where three congregations were worshiping. Bowers is being charged with 29 separate federal crimes, including 11 counts of Obstruction of Exercise of Religious Belief Resulting in Death. The incident is being investigated as a federal hate crime, and authorities say they’re looking into Bowers’ social media accounts.


Jeffrey Finkelstein, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, told the crowded room he’d seen this scenario on television many times, but never thought he’d be a part of it.


“We’ll get past this and be a strong Jewish community like we’ve always been,” Finkelstein said.


Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendel Hissrich said the streets near the Tree of Life Congregation, Wilkins and Shady Avenues, will remain closed for at least a week while officials investigate. Extra police patrols will be added to “sensitive locations” around the city, he said, including this evening’s scheduled interfaith gathering at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland at 5 p.m.


“If you see a first responder, go up to them and say ‘thank you’...a word of thanks will go a long way,” Hissrich said.

Thousands gathered Saturday evening in Squirrel Hill for a memorial ceremony and vigil. Squirrel Hill is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the state and the hub of the city's Jewish community.