A portrait of the ‘darkest day in Pittsburgh’s history’

Nov. 2 | Nov. 1 | Oct. 31 | Oct. 30 | Oct. 29 | Oct. 28 | Oct. 27

Eleven people are dead and six more are wounded — including four police officers — after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood Saturday morning.

On the evening of the shooting and in the following days, Pittsburghers mourned the victims of the shooting, which authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

The suspected shooter, who officials said had a modern precision rifle and three handguns, has been identified as Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin Borough.

Friday, Nov. 2

A man comforts another mourner during a prayer service to mark the beginning of Shabbat, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. It was the first Shabbat since 11 worshipers were killed in the synagogue on Saturday. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

The final funeral service for the victims of the Tree of Life shooting was held on Friday as Rose Mallinger was laid to rest.

As the sun set Friday evening, people of different faiths joined the Jewish community and flocked to synagogues around the city for the first Shabbat services since the shooting.

Pallbearers carry the casket of Rose Mallinger from Congregation Rodef Shalom, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in Shadyside. The funeral for Ms. Mallinger, 97, was the last for the victims of the Tree of Life shooting. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Mourners depart after the burial service for Rose Mallinger, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at the Tree of Life Memorial Park in Franklin Park. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Schmuel Eisenberg leads a prayer service to mark the beginning of Shabbat, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
People sing and pray during a prayer service to mark the beginning of Shabbat, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Worshipers embrace before the start of the Shabbat service, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at Congregation Rodef Shalom in Shadyside. The Shabbat service, the first since the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, was open to people of all faiths. (Michael M. Santiago/Post-Gazette)
People sing and pray during a prayer service to mark the beginning of Shabbat, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

 

 

Thursday, Nov. 1

Mourners gather at for the burial service of Richard Gottfried, a victim of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at New Light Cemetery in Etna. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Thursday was the third day of funerals for victims of the Tree of Life shooting as Richard Gottfried and married couple Bernice and Sylvan Simon were laid to rest.

A woman blows a kiss to the hearse as the funeral procession for Richard Gottfried pulls away from the funeral, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at Ralph Schugar Chapel in Shadyside. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Mourners gather after the funeral of Bernice and Sylvan Simon, a married couple who both died in the Tree of Life shooting, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, at Ralph Schugar Chapel in Shadyside. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Sisters Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, left, and Rachel Gross hug at the memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. The sisters grew up attending the Tree of Life synagogue. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

 

 

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Pallbearers carry the casket of Tree of Life synagogue shooting victim Joyce Fienberg from her funeral, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

‘Evil tried to shut out a light’

Funeral services continued Wednesday as three victims — Joyce Fienberg, Irving Younger and Melvin Wax — were laid to rest.

“Evil tried to shut out a light, but the light refuses to be dimmed,” said Ms. Fienberg’s brother Robert Libman. “The light shines in our hearts, even in our broken hearts.”

Mourners gather during the interment of Irving Younger, a victim of the Tree of Life shooting, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at Shaare Torah Cemetery in Carrick. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)
Mourners embrace at the funeral for Joyce Fienberg, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, outside Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Pallbearers carry the casket of Tree of Life shooting victim Melvin Wax to a hearse after his funeral services, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2018, at Ralph Schugar Chapel in Shadyside. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Harry Leibovitz, center, 19, of Oakland sings over his track “Stronger than Hate” as he films a music video with his friends, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, on the North Shore. The song was written by Mr. Lebovitz, Konstantine Deyev and Cody Maimone as a response to the trauma and grief Pittsburgh experienced in the wake of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
BJ Samson of East Liberty cries while listening to the Rodman Street Choir during a joint prayer service held by the East End Baptist Fellowship and Homewood Community Ministries to show solidarity with the Jewish community, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at Rodman Street Baptist Church in East Liberty. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Beth Perlman of Squirrel Hill cries as she hugs the Rev. Beverly Willie of Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church during the joint prayer service, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at Rodman Street Baptist Church in East Liberty. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

 

 

Tuesday, Oct. 30

From left, Batsheva Ezagui of Florida, Batya Deitsch of Columbus, Ohio, Esther Rivka Shkedi of Squirrel Hill, and Tzipporah Shkedi of Squirrel Hill, all high school students from Yeshiva Schools, watch the funeral procession for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz drive along Forbes Avenue as it heads towards Homewood Cemetery, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill.  (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)

 “I had to be here.”

The city on Tuesday continued to remember the victims of the attack as funeral services began and students at the Jewish Community Day School held a remembrance vigil.

At the funeral for Cecil and David Rosenthal, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers paid tribute to the brothers.

They had “not an ounce of hate in them, something we’re terribly missing in society today,” said Rabbi Myers, himself a survivor of the attack.

Cara Shuckett, left, a teacher at Jewish Community Day School hugs Gabriella Naveh, 13, after students held a remembrance vigil for the Tree of Life synagogue victims on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. Naveh’s mother, Lisa, right, is a teacher at the school. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)
Mourners embrace before the viewing service for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz as the hearse carrying his body arrives at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. Dr. Mr. Rabinowitz was one of 11 victims of the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting on Saturday. (Michael M. Santiago/Post-Gazette)
Pallbearers carry the caskets of brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal after their funeral at Congregation, Rodef Shalom, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Shadyside. (Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)
Mourners walk down Forbes Avenue following Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz’s funeral procession as it heads toward Homewood Cemetery, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)
A woman in her car pauses as Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz’s funeral procession heads toward Homewood Cemetery along South Dallas Avenue, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)

President Donald Trump arrived in Pittsburgh around 4 p.m. and traveled to the Tree of Life synagogue, joined by first lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The president and first lady laid flowers and stones on a memorial that honored the victims of the shooting. Mr. Trump spent most of his four hours in Pittsburgh at UPMC Presbyterian visiting with officers who responded to the shooting, some of whom were shot by the gunman.

Some local officials had expressed their opposition to Mr. Trump’s visit and thousands joined in a peaceful march near the synagogue to protest the visit and continue to mourn for the victims.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump lay stones and flowers at a memorial for victims of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. At right is Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the shooting. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Susan Spangler of Friendship prays during a rally opposing President Donald Trump’s visit, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)
Thousands of people gather along Beechwood Boulevard and Forbes Avenue to stand with the Pittsburgh Jewish community and oppose President Donald Trump’s visit, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Joshua Bloom, who lives close to the Tree of Life synagogue, is pulled away by police after he tried to sit in the street by the police barricade as President Donald Trump visits at the synagogue, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Julie Mallis, an artist and activist with IfNotNow, center, sings with others seated along Forbes Avenue after marching in solidarity with the Jewish community and against white supremacy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

 

 

Monday, Oct. 29

Tree of Life synagogue, bottom left, is photographed, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

A new week

As a new business week quietly began in Squirrel Hill, developments continued in the aftermath of the shooting. Mourners visited memorials outside the Tree of Life synagogue throughout the day and the accused shooter appeared in a federal courthouse after leaving Allegheny General Hospital.

Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday that he wants the White House to consult with families of those killed before a visit from President Donald Trump. Later Monday, Mr. Trump announced that he would visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday to “grieve with Pittsburgh.”

Eleven candles glow in the window of Pinskers Judaica Center, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
People wait in a long line to be screened to enter Allegheny General Hospital, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, on the North Side. Robert Bowers, who is accused of killing 11 people at a Squirrel Hill synagogue, was released from the hospital later Monday. (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)
Nora Schindler, 9, left, covers her eyes as she cries as she is hugged by her mom, Jamie Beth Schindler, both of Lancaster, as they kneel in front of the growing memorial, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Jessie Wardarski/Post-Gazette)
Eli Marcus, 13, of Squirrel Hill, prays beside other students from Yeshiva School behind crime scene tape by the memorial, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, outside of the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. The students held their afternoon prayer at the location, and also prayed for the complete recovery of the police officers in the hospital from the shooting. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
The corner of Murray and Wilkins avenues by of Tree of Life synagogue is covered with chalk messages and flowers, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Geoff Sanderson of Regent Square posts “PGH is stronger than hate” on the theater marquee at The Manor Theater, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. “It is cool that more and more businesses around the community are starting to come together and do these kinds of things,” said Sanderson, who got the request to change the marquee from the theater owner, who is from Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

 

 

 

Sunday, Oct. 28

Veronica Pratt, left, holds an umbrella for Linda Shab, both of Regent Square, as Ms. Shab cries while waiting to cross the street to add flowers to a memorial, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in front of the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Remembering the victims

As words of comfort poured in from around the globe, Pittsburgh grieved on Sunday for those lost in the anti-Semitic attack. Mourners placed flowers on memorials and attended vigils honoring the victims.

“To the victims families and friends, we’re here for you,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “We’ll be here to help you through this horrific episode. We’ll get through this darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history by working together.”

Post-Gazette reporters have written about how the 11 of the victims are being remembered by friends and family. The Post-Gazette is inviting readers to share messages of support.

Jonah Winer of New York prepares to place part of a memorial for the victims, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. Greg Zanis made the pieces, each labeled with a victim’s name on a Star of David, and drove them from Chicago Sunday morning. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

“We will not be broken.”

Thousands gathered at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum Sunday evening for a vigil to remember the victims of the massacre.

The outpouring of support was so overwhelming that it filled the Oakland landmark to its capacity, which is listed at more than 2,300 people. Hundreds more stood in the rain outside of the building to listen to the service as it was broadcast through speakers.

Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of New Light Congregation tearfully spoke of losing three of the “pillars” of the congregation, who were as dedicated to social service outside as they were to religious life inside the synagogue.

“That volunteerism would not be matched,” he said. “That extended beyond the borders of New Light Congregation. To working with the poor, and the hungry and the needy. These three men — they cannot be replaced. But we will not be broken. We will not be ruined by this event.”

Reporting by Peter Smith

Thousands gather for an interfaith community vigil to remember the victims of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

In Focus Video

From left, Rabbi Cheryl Klein of the Dor Hadash Congregation, Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of the New Light Congregation and Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation hug after the vigil, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland. (Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)
From left, Eric Pil, Frits Pil and Karl Pil, all of Fox Chapel, hold candles outside the vigil, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland. (Michael M. Santiago/Post-Gazette)
Seth Oranburg of Squirrel Hill puts on tefillin, boxes containing fragments of Hebrew parchment, as he attends the vigil to honor those impacted by the previous day’s shooting, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
People spill out of the vigil, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

 

 

 

Saturday, Oct. 27

“One of the worst that I’ve seen.”

Speaking at a press conference Saturday afternoon, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich called the crime scene “horrific” and said it was one of the worst he had ever seen.

“We had a tragedy here today,” Mr. Hissrich said, as Gov. Tom Wolf and other officials stood behind him “The work of the first responders has probably prevented it from becoming much more tragedy than what it is.

Reporting by Kris Mamula, Andrew Goldstein, Paula Reed Ward, Liz Navratil and Shelly Bradbury

Rabbi Jeffery Myers is escorted away from the scene of a mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Law enforcement runs with a person on a stretcher at the scene of a mass shooting, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
From left, Tammy Hepps, Kate Rothstein, and her daughter Simone Rothstein, all of Squirrel Hill, read from a religious text and embrace, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the intersection of Shady Avenue and Northumberland Street in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Law enforcement officers secure the scene, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Gov. Tom Wolf, left, and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, right, listen as Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, center, updates the media on the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)
Police and medical personnel gather on the side of Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Andrew Stein/Post-Gazette)
Onlookers stand near the scene where a shooter killed 11 people at Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

Social media posts attributed to the suspected shooter, Robert Bowers, indicate he may have been motivated by his hatred of Jews and immigrants. A affidavit of probable cause says Mr. Bowers told authorities “he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office on Saturday filed 29 charges against Mr. Bowers and Pittsburgh police filed 11 additonal charges.

Reporting by Paula Reed Ward, Rich Lord, Liz Navratil and Ashley Murray

FBI agents conduct a search of the home of the Robert Bowers, 46, the Tree of Life synagogue shooting suspect, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Baldwin. (Michael M. Santiago/Post-Gazette)
Isabel Kinnane Smith, left, of Allderdice High Schol is comforted by Lesley Britton, a math teacher at the school, at a vigil held blocks from where 11 people were killed at Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

“In that spirit of neighborliness”

More than 3,000 people from the Pittsburgh community turned out Saturday night for an interfaith candlelight vigil of Hebrew and English songs and hymns to honor the 11 victims of the mass shooting earlier in the day.

As the Jewish Sabbath ended at sundown, students from Allderdice High School who organized the vigil, led the gathering at the intersection of Murray and Forbes avenues with a “prayer for healing.” The Rev. Vincent Kolb of Sixth Presbyterian, located across the street from the Jewish Community Center, began by alluding to a former worshiper in those pews, the late Fred Rogers.

Heeding his message of “love, neighborliness and peace,” he said, “it is in that spirit of neighborliness that we gather here tonight to be allies to our Jewish neighbors who have been victimized and traumatized by this tragedy.”

He added: “We gather because we are heartbroken but also to show zero tolerance for anti-Semitic speech, anti-Semitic behavior and anti-Semitic violence.”

Reporting by Marylynne Pitz and Peter Smith

People gather for a vigil on Murray and Forbes avenues, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Nancy Clark of Squirrel Hill reads from the Tehillim as police lights flash and rain soaks the pages as she stands near the Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Andrew Stein/Post-Gazette)
People stand on the stairs of Sixth Presbyterian Church as the crowd spills up the hill and down the street for a vigil held blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Tears well in the eyes of Tejal Bhojak, 45, of Squirrel Hill, as she holds a candle during a vigil for the Tree of Life synagogue victims, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. “Our entire life is lived here, we’re just coming out in support,” said Bhojak, who had been following the news all day. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

“Simply unconscionable”

Expressions of sympathy and sorrow poured out in the hours following the shooting.

“It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who also noted the recent uptick in anti-Semitic attacks.

President Donald Trump, who will visit Pittsburgh in the wake of the shooting, said there “there must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America.” He also claimed that the synagogue could have stopped the shooter if it had an armed guard.

Rosie Villano, left, and Chai Smith, both Carnegie Mellon University students, hold candles during an interfaith vigil, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, outside of Sixth Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)
Law enforcement investigates in the rain after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Andrew Stein/Post-Gazette)
Rabbi Eli Wilansky lights a candle after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)