Victims of Pittsburgh attack named

 Suspected attacker Robert Bowers

Suspected attacker Robert Bowers

The names of the 11 people killed in Saturday’s attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh have been released, with the oldest aged 97.

Two brothers and a husband and wife were among those killed. Six people were injured, including four policemen.

The suspect, Robert Bowers, 46, is in custody and faces 29 criminal counts in what is thought to be the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.

Mayor Bill Peduto said this was the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history”.

President Donald Trump has called the attack a “wicked act of mass murder”.

 

The names were read out by officials at a press briefing on Sunday morning.

The 29 charges were announced in a statement issued by the US Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Pennsylvania:

On Saturday morning, worshippers had gathered at the Tree of Life synagogue for a baby naming ceremony during the Sabbath.

Squirrel Hill has one of the largest Jewish populations in Pennsylvania and this would have been the synagogue’s busiest day of the week.

Police said they received first calls about an active shooter at 09:54 local time (13:54 GMT), and sent officers to the scene a minute later.

According to reports, Mr Bowers, a white male, entered the building during the morning service armed with an assault rifle and three handguns.

The gunman had already shot dead 11 people and was leaving the synagogue after about 20 minutes when he encountered Swat officers and exchanged fire with them, FBI agent Robert Jones said.

The attacker then moved back into the building to try to hide from the police.

He surrendered after a shootout.

 

The crime scene was “horrific”, Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters. “One of the worst I’ve seen and I’ve [worked] on some plane crashes. It’s very bad.”

US media said he had shouted “All Jews must die” as he carried out the attack.

Social media posts by someone with the name Robert Bowers were also reported to be full of anti-Semitic comments.

FBI special agent Bob Jones told a press conference that Mr Bowers did not appear to be known to authorities prior to the attack.

In the dwindling light, and with the cold autumn rain falling, hundreds gathered in front of the 6th Presbyterian Church just a few streets away from the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Holding their candles, they sang the Jewish prayer of healing. -BBC

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