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Pittsburgh In Mourning: Voices Reflect On The Deadly Tree Of Life Shooting

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
A star hangs in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood honoring lives lost in a deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.


As Pittsburgh mourns lives lost and affected by the deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday, thousands are coming together to hold vigils, raise money and offer interfaith support.

Investigators say Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin shot and killed 11 people and injured six others as three congregations held separate ceremonies early Saturday. Bowers appeared in a blue sweatshirt and shackles at an arraignment in court Monday. He agreed to be represented by a public defender, and faces 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault, 13 counts of ethnic intimidation and 29 federal counts, including obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death -- a federal hate crime.

Funerals for the victims are expected to begin Tuesday. 

In today's show: a look back at what happened; the reaction from residents and others across the nation; and how Pittsburgh's Jewish community hopes to move forward in the coming days. 

Today's guests of The Confluence include: 

  • Rabbi Jamie Gibson, who leads reform synagogue at Temple Sinai
  • Rep. Dan Frankel, member of the Pennsylvania State House representing the 23rd District and former Chairman of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition
  • Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive and longtime Squirrel Hill resident
  • 90.5 WESA reporters Sara Schneider, Virginia Alvino Young, Lucy Perkins and Katie Meyer

Several organizations are providing grief counseling and other services to help those affected by this tragedy. Here's a list of places to seek help and ways to give.



The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at kkoscinski@wesa.fm.
Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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