The Latest: Victim described as ‘heart’ of congregation
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue (all times local):
Richard Gottfried was a devoted member of the New Light Congregation, going to the synagogue every Saturday morning without fail.
He was killed Saturday as a gunman opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Stephen Cohen, the co-president of New Light, says Gottfried and another member who was also killed Saturday were the “religious heart of our congregation.”
“They led the service, they maintained the Torah, they did what needed to be done with the rabbi to make services happen,” Cohen said.
The 65-year-old Gottfried was also preparing for a new chapter in his life. The dentist, who often did charity work seeing patients who could not afford dental care normally, was preparing to retire in the next few months.
Gottfried ran a dental office with his wife, Peg Durachko.
Israel’s president is sending a message of solidarity after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying Israel stands with the Jewish victims and the Pittsburgh community.
In a videotaped message set to open an interfaith vigil Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin will tell participants: “You are not alone! The people of Israel and the entire Jewish people stand with you!” That’s according to a transcript of the message provided by his office.
“We must say loud and clear — this was an act of anti-semitism,” Rivlin says, according to the transcript. “We cannot, we must not, we will not ignore it or tolerate it.”
Rivlin, who acts in a mostly ceremonial capacity, will conclude his message of consolation by reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is joining the city’s religious leaders and other elected officials to condemn the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and vowing to protect the city’s Jewish communities from violence.
The Democrat spoke outside a Manhattan synagogue Sunday afternoon with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
De Blasio says the people of New York stand with the 11 victims of Saturday’s shooting and their families. He says, “Violence against people because of their faith does not represent our values.”
De Blasio says city police will be out in force to protect synagogues and Jewish centers.
Daniel Stein, who was among the 11 people shot dead inside Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue Saturday, was a very visible member of the city’s Jewish community as a leader in the New Light Congregation.
The co-president of the area’s Hadassah chapter, Nancy Shuman, says Judaism was very important to the 71-year-old Stein. His wife, Sharyn, is the chapter’s membership vice president.
Shuman says, “Both of them were very passionate about the community and Israel.”
Stein’s nephew Steven Halle told the Tribune-Review that his uncle “was always willing to help anybody.”
Halle says Stein “was somebody that everybody liked.”
Joyce Fienberg and her late husband, Stephen, were intellectual powerhouses, but those who knew them say they were the kind of people who used that intellect to help others.
Joyce Fienberg was among the 11 victims of a gunman who opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday.
The 74-year-old spent most of her career at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. She retired in 2008 from her job as a researcher looking at learning in the classroom and in museums. She worked on several projects, including studying the practices of highly effective teachers.
Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, who was Fienberg’s research partner for decades, says she is devastated by the murder of her colleague and friend.
Leinhardt says, “Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring, and profoundly thoughtful human being.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns have observed a moment of silence at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field for the 11 people killed by a gunman inside a synagogue in the city Saturday.
There were other such tributes at NFL games elsewhere Sunday.
Eight men and three women were murdered inside the Tree of Life Synagogue. The names of the victims, which included a pair of brothers and a married couple, were released Sunday.
In a statement issued before Sunday’s game, Steelers owner Art Rooney II said, “Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called the slayings the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history.”
A law enforcement official says the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue had a license to carry firearms and legally owned his guns.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Police say Robert Bowers killed eight men and three women in the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him.
The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included brothers and a husband and wife.
Court papers say Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people.
Federal prosecutors have charged Bowers with 29 criminal offenses and state authorities have also leveled charges. Bowers is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.
— Michael Balsamo in Washington
Condolences and remembrances of the 11 victims of the deadly attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday are beginning to roll out on social media and in emails.
They were professors and accountants, dentists and beloved doctors.
Former Allegheny County Deputy District Attorney Law Claus sent an email to his former coworkers Sunday asking them to pass along his condolences to the family of Jerry Rabinowitz, a 66-year-old personal physician.
Claus says Rabinowitz was more than a physician for him and his family for the past three decades, saying, “he was truly a trusted confidant and healer.”
He says Rabinowitz had an uplifting demeanor and would provide sage advice.
A neighbor of the man charged in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre says the suspect kept to himself.
Chris Hall said Sunday that he never heard or saw anything to indicate that 46-year-old Robert Bowers harbored anti-Semitic views or posed a threat.
Authorities say Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a tactical police team shot and wounded him. Bowers faces state and federal charges.
Hall says nothing stood out about Bowers. He says “the most terrifying thing is just how normal he seemed.”
Six others were wounded in the attack, including four officers, one of whom remains in critical condition. Two worshippers also remain hospitalized, one of them in critical condition.
The 11 people killed in the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh included a married couple, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, and two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal.
The Allegheny County medical examiners’ office released the victims’ names Sunday. David Rosenthal was the youngest at 54. The eldest was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger.
The dead also included Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger.
Fellow members of the New Light Congregation say Wax was a pillar of the congregation, filling many roles there. Friend Myron Snider says Wax was a retired accountant who was unfailingly generous.
Wax was in his late 80s.
Authorities say gunman Robert Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people. Bowers is being treated for gunshot wounds and is due in court Monday.
Authorities have released the names of the 11 people killed by a gunman during worship services in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Officials said at a news conference Sunday that the victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included brothers and a husband and wife.
Authorities say gunman Robert Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people. Officials previously said three women and eight men were killed.
Bowers has been arrested and is being treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital.
The U.S. attorney’s office has charged Bowers with 29 federal counts. Bowers is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday. State authorities have also leveled charges.
German leaders are mourning the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and stressing the need to push back against anti-Semitism.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman quoted Merkel on Twitter as offering her condolences and saying that “all of us must confront anti-Semitism with determination — everywhere.”
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced his dismay at the attack, which left 11 dead, in a condolence message to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Steinmeier wrote that “this abhorrent crime reminds us all to do what is in our power to advocate against hatred and violence, against anti-Semitism and exclusion, and to counter with determination those who incite them.”
Pope Francis is grieving with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community following the massacre at a synagogue, denouncing the “inhuman act of violence” and praying for an end to the “flames of hatred” that fueled it.
Francis led prayers for Pittsburgh on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, a day after a gunman who had expressed hatred of Jews opened fire in the synagogue during Sabbath services, killing 11 people.
Francis prayed for the dead, injured and their families and said: “In reality, all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence.” He prayed for God “to help us to extinguish the flames of hatred that develop in our societies, reinforcing the sense of humanity, respect for life and civil and moral values.”
Francis has frequently spoken out against religiously inspired violence and has denounced the easy availability of guns thanks to weapons manufacturers, whom he has called “merchants of death.”
Police say the suspect in the deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue told officers that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die.
Pittsburgh police said in an arrest affidavit made public early Sunday that Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women in the Tree of Life Synagogue before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him.
A Pittsburgh police officer says in the warrant that Bowers was being treated for his injuries when he said Jews were “committing genocide to his people.”
Bowers is charged with 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.
The police affidavit says calls began coming in to 911 just before 10 a.m. Saturday, reporting “they were being attacked.”
A gunman who expressed hatred of Jews exploited a vulnerability common in so many houses of worship across the country — doors that are unlocked for worship — to target a Pittsburgh synagogue.
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 U.S. history.
Police swarmed the building and traded gunfire with the gunman, who was shot multiple times but survived.
Four police officers are among the wounded.
Bowers faces 29 federal counts, including weapons offenses and hate crimes.
Law enforcement officials plan to discuss the massacre at a news conference Sunday morning.