Vigil at UNF honors victims of deadly synagogue shooting

29 October, 2018, 16:45 | Author: Bert Pena
  • An ambulance arrives at the Tree of Life Synagogue where a shooter opened fire Saturday Oct. 27 2018 injuring multiple people including three police officers

A Bedford family is mourning the loss of a family member who was one of the 11 victims of the mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning.

Thousands of people jammed an intersection amid light rain for a vigil Saturday evening for the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue earlier in the day.

As many as 11 people were killed when suspected gunman Robert Bowen burst into the building, yelling "all Jews must die". The victims included a married couple - 84 and 86 - as well as 54- and 59-year-old brothers. He has been charged with 29 federal counts including violence and firearms offenses as well as violations of civil rights laws.

"The actions of Robert Bowers represent the worst of humanity", USA attorney for western Pennsylvania Scott Brady told reporters. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that Bowers could face the death penalty.

An initial appearance in federal court is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

US Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat who is Jewish, said on Sunday the country needs to combat a climate of hatred and division that he said President Trump helped foster.

The mass shooting, called the deadliest attack on Jews in USA history, hit particularly close to home for Aaron, who said she used to live just a block away from Tree of Life, which is nestled in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood near several universities.

"She had to know everybody there, [whether] old, young". Bowers' virulent anti-Semitic views were evident in prolific online postings.

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He said authorities believed the suspect entered the synagogue, murdered the worshippers and was leaving when he encountered a uniformed police officer.

For El-Messidi, the past few years have not been an easy time to be an American Muslim, which is all the more reason to reach out to others in their times of need.

A social media post by Bowers on Saturday morning said a Jewish refugee organisation, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, "likes to bring invaders in that kill our people".

"I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered", Bowers allegedly wrote before the shooting. "Screw your optics, I'm going in".

Other vigils were held across Canada including in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver.

Piltz said news of the Pittsburgh shooting came as his community was already on high alert following the recent killing of Eliyahu Moscowitz, an Orthodox Jew who supervised a kosher kitchen in Rogers Park.

The emerging evidence strongly suggests that the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism and was the deadliest against the Jewish community in the history of the USA, as per the Anti Defamation League, a Jewish non-governmental organisation.

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