The shooting happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the hub of the city’s Jewish community, about 10 minutes of drive from downtown Pittsburgh.
On Saturday morning, a man walked into the synagogue, opening fire at the crowd of worshippers during a baby-naming ceremony.
Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Western District Scott Brady confirmed the suspect to be Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old man from Pittsburgh who is now in custody.
Bowers’ social media posts were reportedly rife with anti-Semitic content. The shooting will be prosecuted as a hate crime and the FBI will be leading the investigation, according to authorities.
Jenny, a Squirrel Hill resident, said that one of the witnesses used her phone to call 911.
“About 10:00 this morning, I was at the house when a family member came by with a man who he had found and see him running down the street from the synagogue but he was nicely dressed, he wasn’t dressed in running clothes. So she asked him if something was wrong and he said there’s been a shooting at the synagogue. And he said he didn’t have the cellphone with him, so he wanted, needed to call 911. So she brought him to my house because it was close. So he called 911 from the house,” she said.
Appalled and still in shock, residents still cannot believe such a tragedy have hit their once quiet, peaceful and safe neighborhood.
“It sickens me because this is a close-knit neighborhood and there is no doubt there is going to be people on that list that I know, who are friends, neighbors and it’s sickening,” Jenny said.
“Suddenly all of these guns and all of these hatred that have been happening in this country. It’s horrible. It’s just horrible,” said Ann, another resident.
Ann also expressed her dismay at how long the country is taking to act on the gun control situation.
“Yeah, easy, but they won’t. You know they just won’t, there is not the political will. But yeah, there is a lot of ways to solve the gun problem and this country refuses to do it,” she said.