Hundreds gather downtown to mourn deaths in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

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Officials say Robert Bowers was armed with a rifle and three handguns when he walked inside the Tree of Life synagogue during Sabbath services Saturday morning and opened fire, killing 11 people and wounding six in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.

Two Muslim-led nonprofits, CelebrateMercy and MPower Change, organized the fundraising drive in partnership with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue, which will work together to distribute the funds to victims and their families.

As many as 11 people were killed when suspected gunman Robert Bowen burst into the building, yelling "all Jews must die".

While some acknowledged the political undertones of the gathering, many, including 45-year-old Ira Piltz, said they were heartened to see such a large crowd come out to show their support for the Jewish community.

Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was charged late Saturday on 29 counts, including 11 counts of murder with a firearm, and several hate crime charges such as obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.

"The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity", U.S. attorney for western Pennsylvania Scott Brady told reporters.


He was reportedly armed with a rifle and three handguns.

"If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us", Kathy Hurwitz said clutching a tissue.

The other victims included 75-year-old Joyce Fienberg of Oakland, 65-year-old Richard Gottfried of Ross Township, 66-year-old Jerry Rabinowitz of Edgewood and 69-year-old Irving Younger of Mt. Washington. "We should be working to eliminate irrational behavior and the empowerment of people who would seek to cause this type of carnage from continuing", Peduto said.

Some complained that the confrontational, nationalistic rhetoric of US President Donald Trump has encouraged right-wing extremists and fed a surge in activity by hate groups.

David and Cecil Rosenthal, aged 54 and 59 respectively, were identified as the brothers who were killed.

The suspect, a Pittsburgh resident, was shot and in fair condition at a hospital, authorities said.


"He is one of the finest people I've ever met", said Dr. Kenneth Ciesilka, in the article.

Mr Bowers had made many anti-Semitic posts online, including one early on Saturday.

Chicago police did not receive any threats to the city or the vigil, but officers and K9s were deployed to the vigil to ensure a visible presence, officials said.

"You have to talk to them in a way they understand", he said.

Saturday's shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation is considered the deadliest attack on the community in the United States.

He urged people to be more politically active to combat hateful rhetoric, and he encouraged Jewish people to attend services to show they can not be intimidated.


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