'Multiple casualties' in US synagogue shooting

WASHINGTON • A gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yesterday, reportedly killing at least four people and injuring others before being taken into custody.

Officials did not immediately confirm a motive for the attack at the synagogue, where dozens of people were understood to be celebrating Shabbat services on the Jewish sabbath, and which comes amid the United States witnessing a sharp spike in anti-Semitic incidents.

US television networks said at least four people were killed, while the local CBS affiliate reported that eight people were dead.

"It's a terrible, terrible thing what's going on with hate in our country frankly, and all over the world," President Donald Trump told reporters as he left for campaign events in Indiana and Illinois. "Something has to be done. When people do this, they should get the death penalty," he said.

A police spokesman addressing reporters at the scene confirmed "multiple casualties" and said three officers were shot before the shooter was taken into custody.

The condition of the officers was not immediately clear.

A woman at the scene told CNN that her daughter was with others who ran down the stairs and barricaded themselves in the basement of the synagogue after hearing shots. "They're safe, but they kept hearing them firing and everything else," she told the TV network.

CNN broadcast footage of police cars, ambulances and a police SWAT team outside the place of worship.

 
 

The Tree of Life Synagogue is about 8km east of downtown Pittsburgh in the residential Squirrel Hill neighbourhood.

The Pennsylvania shooting is the latest in the US, where gunmen regularly cause mass casualties and firearms are linked to more than 30,000 deaths annually.

Mr Michael Eisenberg, a past president of the synagogue, told CNN the door would typically have been open on Saturdays with religious services going on.

Mr Trump told reporters the shooting at the synagogue had little to do with gun laws and that if there had been protection inside the temple the results would have been different.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 28, 2018, with the headline ''Multiple casualties' in US synagogue shooting'. Print Edition | Subscribe