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Gunman opens fire at synagogue in Pittsburgh

A man has been taken into custody after opening fire at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taking the lives of 8 people during prayer service.

It occurred in the largely Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Authorities reported that there were “multiple casualties” suffered at the Tree of Life Synagogue, where hundreds of people had been gathered for a service in the morning.

According to official sources, the gunman surrendered to police, while injured and crawling, and he is currently in custody.

(Image credit: News.au)

On CNN, he was described as a heavyset white male with a beard who was wearing jeans.

According to police sources, he walked into the synagogue and shouted “all Jews must die.”

Among the injured people are three cops. “We have three officers who have been shot and at this point we have no more information because we are still clearing the building,” a police spokesman said.

(Image credit: News.au)

It was reported that witnesses who called 911 recalled the gunman walking into the building, proceeding to open fire.

The chain of events started when the gunman reportedly took the lives of three people on the ground level, then four in the basement of the synagogue, and at least one other person before he decided to flee to the third floor, exchange gunfire with the police and then surrender somehow without his life being taken.

Something happens every time there’s an event like this. The president, vice president, and international media all jumped on the story immediately.

US President Donald Trump was quick to tweet:

“Watching the events unfolding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement on the scene. People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!,” he said.

(Image credit: News.au)

US Vice President Mike Pence said:

“Monitoring reports of shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Praying for the fallen, the injured, all the families impacted, and our courageous first responders. God bless them all.”

As per the usual reporting on an event like this, police were cited and residents were ordered to avoid the area, by Police Commander Jason Lando, who said: “It is imperative that the neighbors in the community surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue stay in their houses and shelter in place. Do not come out of your home right now. It is not safe.”

(Image credit: News.au)

In the densely populated, historic Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, the tragedy started around 10:20 am, about 30 minutes into the service.

Fred Rabner, a local man who regularly attends the Saturday morning service, described this Tree of Life place as a close-knit congregation.

“This is a small community,” he said. “Undoubtedly all of us will know who those congregants” who lost their lives.

Sports teams tweeted about it.

Pittsburgh Steelers

@steelers

We send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this morning’s tragedy in Pittsburgh. We will continue to pray for everyone involved.

In the past, Mr. Rabner said previous attacks had been launched against the synagogue, including a rabbi previously getting shot, and a swastika being painted there.

“This is our turn and its just another in a very long line of shootings and tragedies and it just has to stop, we gotta do something,” Mr Rabner said on CNN.