Eight people have died and six more were injured after a gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, Saturday morning and started shooting.
Police say the man yelled, “All Jews must die,” before opening fire on the congregation, who were gathered for weekly Shabbat services and a bris. Police said people were barricaded inside after the gunman began shooting.
When police arrived, the gunman opened fire on them, injuring at least four officers, who resorted to using their vehicles as shields. The suspect, a heavy-set white male surrendered after he was apparently injured. KDKA2, Pittsburgh, PA’s local CBS affiliate, reported SWAT team members had been talking to the suspect, who was “crawling and injured.”
“I will emphasize at this time that there appears to be no active threat to the community. We believe the subject that is responsible for this has been taken into custody,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.
Hissrich said the injuries to the police officers were not life-threatening, but the two injured in the synagogue are in critical and serious condition at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
“It’s a very horrific crime scene. One of the worst I’ve seen,” Hissrich said, according to NBC. “It’s very bad.”
Social media posts from the suspect showed he was a virulent anti-Semite, who posted this morning: “HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill out people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
The Anti-Defamation League released a statement saying it was “unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning.”
“This is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States,” the organization added.
The FBI will be leading the investigation.
UPDATE: At least eleven people died in the attack.