The shooting deaths of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue Saturday is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
To help you process the coverage, events and commentary after the tragedy, we have collected a range of reporting by local and national news outlets. These stories focus on the lives of the victims, the shooter, Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, responses from political leaders, the debate over who bears the blame, what you can do to help others and how you can get help yourself.
PublicSource also has a special page aggregating its coverage here.
Remembering the victims (as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
On accused shooter Robert Bowers
- ‘I just want to kill Jews’: Bowers was heard telling police.
- Who is Robert Bowers? What we know and don’t know so far.
- Bowers blamed Jews for unwanted immigration, such as the recent caravan of immigrants headed toward the United States from Honduras.
- Bowers used a social media site popular among members of the far right who espouse racist beliefs.
How to help
- Donate blood Friday at the William Pitt building at the University of Pittsburgh from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More upcoming blood donation events can be found here.
- There are several online fundraisers, which PublicSource has vetted to ensure they are helping the injured, the families of the slain and the Tree of Life congregation.
Resources on safety and processing grief
- Tips for managing distress after a shooting via the American Psychological Association. Tips from the American Counseling Association.
- Learn more about security resources and training from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
- The Jewish Community Center has set up an assistance center for the victims of families. Drop-ins welcome or appointments can be set up at 412-422-7200.
- Information on talking to children about the mass shooting at the synagogue.
What politicians are saying
- President Donald Trump: “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect. If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation. They didn’t.”
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf: “Any attack on one community of faith in Pennsylvania is an attack against every community of faith in Pennsylvania.”
- Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: “We know that hatred will never win out. We will not try to figure out ways to lessen the degree of crimes such as this. We will work to eradicate it. We will work to eradicate it from our city, and our nation, and our world.”
- Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald: “My wife, Cathy, set out shortly before 10 a.m. for her usual walk. Some days I join her, but more often than not, I am headed to events in other parts of the county. As Cathy headed up Wilkins Avenue, about 50 yards from Tree of Life, she heard the unmistakable pop pop pop of gunshots. Watching a police officer jump out of his vehicle and crouch behind it, she knew something awful was happening and turned and sprinted home.”
- Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey: “We stand with the victims and their families in this time of tragedy. Those of us in public office have an obligation to take actions that can reduce the likelihood of mass shootings. We must come together as a nation and meet this challenge.”
- Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey: “Synagogues and places of worship are safe havens where communities come together to celebrate, pray and reflect. The horrific events that transpired at Tree of Life Synagogue are heartbreaking. I’m monitoring the situation. My prayers are with the victims, their families, and friends.”
- A Massacre in the Heart of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood by Bari Weiss
‘Squirrel Hill will continue to live by the values that Jews have sustained for more than 2,000 years. They can never be gunned down.’
- A Prayer for Squirrel Hill—And for American Jewry by Franklin Foer
‘The Pittsburgh synagogue killings show that dormant hatreds have reawakened.’
- Dispatch from Squirrel Hill: Dread in a peaceful place by David Shribman. “You could hear it in the sirens that broke the stillness of the morning and shattered the serenity of the Saturday routines at the cleaners, at the shoe store, at the hotcake house.”
- “I am a Squirrel Hill Jew, and you cannot break me” by Joshua Axelrod. “It brought back memories of every time someone made a Jew joke in my presence and I smiled and moved the conversation along while suppressing my annoyance.”
A dark week in the United States.
- A white gunman tried to enter a black church in Kentucky. When he could not enter, he shot and killed two black customers at a nearby Kroger supermarket, letting a white customer go.
- A Florida man was charged with sending pipe bombs, which did not explode, to critics of President Donald Trump, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Is political rhetoric to blame?
- How much responsibility does Trump bear for the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh?
- Trump blames the media and Democrats for creating an atmosphere where people are attacked for their beliefs.
- Some Jewish leaders are calling on Trump to denounce white nationalism before coming to Pittsburgh.
The gun debate
- Trump says a lack of guns and security at the synagogue was responsible for what happened.
- Mayor Bill Peduto says focusing on adding security and adding more guns, rather than gun control, is misguided.
- “Do not tell us it’s too soon to talk about guns and bigotry,” commentary by Moshe Z. Marvit.
- Some Pittsburgh Democrats are pushing for gun control measures.
Pittsburgh’s Jewish community
- Pittsburgh’s Jewish community is at its highest population level in a half century but there are changes underway in where they live, what they believe and how they worship.
- A short history of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
- Hate returns: The murder of a Jewish man in 1986 in Squirrel Hill was ruled a hate crime.
- More about the 150-year-old Tree of Life congregation.
- The Jewish organization HIAS has helped refugees settle in the area with help from the Squirrel Hill-based Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh.
- There are at least 16 active Pittsburgh-area synagogues, according to the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.
An increase of anti-Semitism
- Anti-Semitic acts have been increasing in the United States.
- A brief history of anti-Semitic violence in the United States.
TIMELINE (Based on reports from several organizations including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, WESA, CNN and the New York Times.)
- 9:49 a.m. An anti-Jewish message is reportedly posted on social media by Robert Bowers. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
- 9:50 a.m. Bowers starts shooting.
- 9:54 a.m. Shortly after services started, emergency dispatchers began receiving 911 calls from the synagogue.
- About 10:30 a.m. Tactical teams went into the synagogue.
- 10:47 a.m. The SWAT team enters the third floor and exchanges fire with Bowers.
- 11:08 a.m. Bowers surrenders, crawling toward SWAT officers.
- 6:00 p.m. Thousands show up at the intersection of Murray and Forbes Ave for a prayer vigil.
- 6:00 p.m. Thousands gather to mourn the victims.
- President Trump plans to visit Pittsburgh.
- Duquesne University is planning an interfaith service for unity and healing.
- Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. at its headquarters to respond to the tragedy and discuss its refugee services.Funeral for the victims will start on Oct. 30 and continue through Nov. 2.
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