Celebration of Life Turned to Tragedy

Photo: Matt Rourke, AP

On Saturday morning in the Pittsburgh suburb of Squirrel Hill, 11 worshipers lost their lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue after vicious acts of evil. A brit milah and baby naming service were being performed prior to the shooters arrival. No children lost their lives, as the victims ranged from ages 59 to 97. It is being considered the worst domestic act against the Jewish community in American history.

The shooter, who is now in custody, acted alone and out of hate. According to USA Today, the shooter yelled, “All Jews must die,” before opening fire on the service. The shooter is facing nearly 30 federal charges some of which hate crimes and could be subject to the death penalty. Posts presumed to be from the shooters social media accounts show derogatory remarks about refugees, Jewish people and President Donald Trump. In one post, the shooter said he did not vote for the current President.

A gunfight emerged once armed officers arrived at the scene. At least two officers were injured but some outlets have reported that 3 officers were wounded. The gunman also received multiple gunshot wounds before surrendering but is now, according to authorities, in stable condition.

The gunman was confirmed to be carrying three handguns and an assault rifle. According to Associated Press, the the shooter legally owned the guns and had a license to carry. This news is expected to further the discussion on mental health and access to firearms in the U.S.

Capital punishment does exist in Pennsylvania, but one has not been performed in the commonwealth in almost 20 years. Plenty of reform has happened since, and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf issued a moratorium on capital punishment in 2015 making the possible sentence appear unlikely.

As the nation mourns its losses in the wake of our most recent massacre, the ‘Stronger than Hate Campaign’ has emerged. One local Pittsburgh Steelers fan recreated the teams logo to include the Star of David in place of one of the standard ffour-pointedstars. The Steelers also had a moment of silence prior to the national anthem during Sunday’s game at Heinz Field. Here are some more reactions from Saturdays news.