The Oasis Reporters
October 27, 2018
Coming at a tense time in the US, after a week in which mail bombs were sent to critics of President Donald Trump, ahead of crucial midterm elections next month, a gunman enters a Jewish synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and opened fire, police report.
Emergency services arrived at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue at about 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT). A service was taking place at the time.
“There are multiple casualties”, a police spokesman, Chris Togneri said, adding that three officers were among them.
The gunman was reportedly a heavy-set white male with a beard and has now surrendered. He is in custody but residents are still being advised to stay at home.
The spokesman for the Pittsburgh Police Department, Jason Lando, said that officers were still carrying out searches at the synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood.
The Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue, Pittsburgh
US President Donald Trump tweeted to say that he was watching events.
Events in Pittsburgh are far more devastating than originally thought. Spoke with Mayor and Governor to inform them that the Federal Government has been, and will be, with them all the way. I will speak to the media shortly and make further statement at Future Farmers of America.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2018
President Donald Trump later said the shooting was a “terrible, terrible thing”,
“To see this happen again and again, for so many years, it’s just a shame,” he told reporters on Saturday.
He described the gunman as a “maniac” and suggested the US should “stiffen up our laws of the death penalty”.
“These people should pay the ultimate price. This has to stop,” he said.
Mr Trump added that the incident had “little to do” with US gun laws. “If they had protection inside, maybe it could have been a different situation,” he said.
The president is due to give a statement about the synagogue shooting when he appears at the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis later on Saturday.
Earlier, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement that the incident was an “absolute tragedy” and that such acts of violence could not be accepted as “normal”.
He said: “These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans. My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need.”
The New York Police Department later said it had deployed officers to synagogues throughout the city as a precaution.