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From Mourning To Action: Nearly Two Weeks Since The Shooting, Peduto Says He's Still Healing Too

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Now nearly two weeks since the deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says he'll lean on interfaith prayer vigils to give space for collective healing and grief.


 Pittsburgh took the national stage after a gunman killed 11 Jews and injured six others in what prosecutors have dubbed a hate crime at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

Credit Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Mayor Bill Peduto poses in his office in Downtown Pittsburgh on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

When the news broke, Mayor Bill Peduto says he filled the dual roles of city spokesman and consoler in chief. Now nearly two weeks later, he says it's time to turn to action. 

"I've been in homes where the life was lost and the blood was still on the walls. It comes with the job," he says, but what happened at Tree of Life was different. "You always hope you will never be that city that has a mass loss of life. ... It's the committee that no mayor wants to be on."

Peduto says he hopes various interfaith prayer vigils continue across the city as a vehicle for unity and healing. 

Elsewhere in the program, the alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, pleaded not guilty in court last week. David Harris, 90.5 WESA legal analyst and professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, says it may seem counterintuitive, but his defense is to be expected -- as are the two taxpayer-funded public defenders representing him.

The aeronautics industry is facing a worker shortage that could outstrip supply within the next decade. WESA’s Maria Scapellato talks to Suzanne Markle, CEO of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, about federal legislation passed last month creating a $5 million grant to fund workforce development and boost the number of trained aviation mechanics and technicians. Markle says PIA is up for the challenge.

90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young reports on the contracting Catholic diocese, and what Pittsburgh's is doing to recruit and consolidate amid a sweeping clergy abuse scandal. 

And Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law two bills aimed at helping the innocent exonerate their wrongful convictions. Marissa Boyers Bluestine, executive director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, says it's a huge and welcome change, but more needs to be done.


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 covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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