Pittsburgh Shooting Update
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Eleven Jewish worshippers have been killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. A man has been charged with hate crimes and could face the death penalty. He was reportedly motivated by conspiracy theories about Jewish leaders and immigration, according to his social media posts. In the last hour, officials in Pittsburgh have revealed the names of those killed, answered questions about the attack and praised Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Scott Brady, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)
SCOTT BRADY: The Jewish community of Pittsburgh is one that we, as Pittsburghers, treasure. It's an important part of the cultural and social identity of Pittsburgh. And so this was an attack upon our neighbors and upon our friends and one that we felt very deeply.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're joined now by NPR's Quil Lawrence, who is in Pittsburgh. Good morning, Quil.
QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what did we learn about those killed?
LAWRENCE: Well, the list was striking in that most of these people who were killed were older. All but two were 65 or older. We know that there was a baby-naming ceremony going on in one of the three services that was happening at the synagogue yesterday - three different services. But we don't know which of the services were struck by the gunman. The names here, just looking them over - there were the two brothers in their 50s were the youngest. They were brothers - they were at the service, a married couple in their mid 80s. The oldest woman was 97. So it really is striking that this was an elderly community that was massacred.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's just terrible. What more do we know about the attack itself?
LAWRENCE: We know that the shooter entered the synagogue with two .357 Magnum pistols - I'm sorry, three pistols and an AR-15. That's the legal version of the military assault rifle that you and I saw in Iraq. It's a gun which doesn't really have a sporting - hunting purpose. It's designed for gunfights or, in this case, to kill as many human beings as possible in a short time.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And it's been at the center of a lot of debate over gun control.
LAWRENCE: Right. And the shooter is in hospital recovering from surgery after multiple gunshot wounds, apparently by police. He'll be in court for the first time tomorrow.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Several community leaders were also at this press conference. Remind us what they said about how the community is going to move forward.
LAWRENCE: I mean, at the moment they were still in shock, I think, waiting for the the real thunderclap that's going to hit this community once they find out all these names and everyone realizes that they knew that person. It's a tightknit, small community where everyone expected that they would know a family that was affected. There were also a lot of people thanking the first responders. Mayor Bill Peduto said that Pittsburgh is a pragmatic community that's going to find solutions for this. This is what he said.
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BILL PEDUTO: I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns, which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mayor Bill Peduto. NPR's Quil Lawrence, thank you so much for joining us.
LAWRENCE: Thank you, Lulu.
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