Anyone attempting to enter the Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue, during the week had to ring the doorbell to be granted entry by the staff because the front door was kept locked. However, on Saturdays, which is when the Sabbath or the day of rest is observed, the synagogue was open for worship. The gunman, identified as Robert Bowers, who had expressed hatred of Jews exploited this vulnerability, common in many houses of worship across the country.
Armed with a rifle and three handguns, Bowers walked inside the synagogue during Saturday morning and started shooting, killing 11 and wounding six before police took him into custody. Before being arrested he traded gunfire with the police and was shot multiple times. He, however, survived the firefight. Four police officers were also among the wounded. He was later charged with 29 federal counts, including weapons offences and hate crimes.
This mass shooting drew condemnation and sympathy from various politicians and religious leaders. Terming the shooting an "evil anti-Semitic attack," Trump ordered flags at all federal buildings throughout the US to be flown at half-staff in respect for the victims. He further revealed his plans to travel to Pittsburgh. The shooting raised immediate alarm in Jewish communities around the country with authorities in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and various other cities sent extra patrols to synagogues and all other houses of worship. In the city, thousands gathered for a vigil with some blaming the slaughter on the nation's political climate. Little is known about Bowers, who apparently has no previous criminal record, but he is believed to have expressed anti-Semitic views on social media. Authorities stated that he appeared to have acted alone.
Tags : USA KILLING