Mass shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue

By Eric Levenson and Ray Sanchez, CNN

Updated 4:14 p.m. ET, October 28, 2018
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2:10 p.m. ET, October 28, 2018

Non-profit delivers flowers to Tree of Life growing memorial

From Gisela Crespo

Shannon Haldeman of the local non-profit organization Scent with Love delivered flowers to the Tree of Life synagogue on Sunday and took a photo of the growing memorial outside the site of the shooting.

Haldeman told CNN that Scent with Love picks up flowers from wedding and events and delivers them to places in need around Pittsburgh.

“These arrangements were picked up from two different weddings last evening by myself and my volunteers and we delivered them this morning,” Haldeman said. 

1:42 p.m. ET, October 28, 2018

97-year-old victim "had a lot of years left"

From Sara Sidner

Rose Mallinger may have been 97 years old, but she was still "spry" and "vibrant," said Tree of Life member Robin Friedman.

"She had a lot of years left," Friedman told CNN.

Mallinger was the oldest victim in the shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday. She had been a secretary at the synagogue's school office decades ago, and she regularly attended Tree of Life services with her daughter.

"She was just the sweetest. A lovely lady," Friedman said. "She had to know everybody there, (whether) old, young. Always a hello, always a hug, always a smile."

Friedman also said that Cecil and David Rosenthal were a constant presence at the Tree of Life synagogue.

"They lived and died there. They came to everything. Sports nights, annual meetings. They were always there in suit and tie," she said. "They won multiple awards and citations for their devotion, for their generosity of their time, for their volunteerism, anything you asked them to do."

1:23 p.m. ET, October 28, 2018

One victim was a beloved family doctor. Another was an ever-smiling greeter.

From Sara Sidner

Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the victims of the shooting, was a family doctor in the community. He had treated Susan Blackman and her three kids, Blackman told CNN.

“I can’t imagine the world without him," she said.

"He was like a member of the family, a member of the extended family," she said. "Dr. Jerry was just somebody who, when you see him, your eyes light up."

Suzan Hauptman said that she got to know Rabinowitz when he treated her father.

"He wasn't just my dad's doctor, he was there for me, he was there for my mom, my brother. He was our doctor too," she said. "He just did it all."

Cecil and David Rosenthal, brothers who died in the shooting, both always greeted people when they came in to worship, Hauptman said.

"They were like the ambassadors because they were always there," she said. "And they will always be there in our hearts."

Suzan Hauptman (right) spoke to CNN's Sara Sidner about her friends who were killed in the shooting.
Suzan Hauptman (right) spoke to CNN's Sara Sidner about her friends who were killed in the shooting.

Laura Berman, a cantor at nearby Temple Sinai, said that she grew up in Pittsburgh but then moved away. When she moved back to Pittsburgh, Cecil was a reminder that she was home.

"He was always just a sweet, sweet gentle soul who was friendly to everybody, helpful to everybody," she said.

Cecil, with an ever-smiling face, was the kindest soul you would ever meet, Berman said.

"He was one of those embodiments of the community. Just open, warm, smiling, wanting to help, and just in his beautiful simplicity, that's who he was," she said.

12:47 p.m. ET, October 28, 2018

People at Jerusalem’s Western Wall react to synagogue shooting

From Freddy Wheeler

Passers-by at the Western Wall in Jerusalem reacted Sunday to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting with sadness and support for the victims.

Aviv Herzlich, tour guide: "I was shocked to hear the news. I always had this illusion that Jews in America can feel safe. Actually we were jealous in Israel to see the successful and safe communities in the States and now it seems that all over the world Jews are not so safe, apparently also in America.

Israel Rosenberg: "We are all one nation and what makes us different is that we are really one spirit together. We are one soul so when someone gets hurt in America, everyone in Israel feels it into their soul because we are one connected soul."

Yafit Dana, from Tel Aviv: "It was very unfortunate to hear the news, it was very sad to hear that you have anti-Semitism still in the US these days."

Yafit Dana, from Tel Aviv, Israel, spoke to CNN at Jerusalem's Western Wall on Sunday.
Yafit Dana, from Tel Aviv, Israel, spoke to CNN at Jerusalem's Western Wall on Sunday.

10:35 a.m. ET, October 28, 2018

Pittsburgh Mayor calls to remove guns from people with hatred

From Chris Boyette

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was asked if, in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, it was time to talk about removing guns from American society.

"We're dealing with irrational behavior. There is no way that you can rationalize a person walking into a synagogue during services and taking the lives of 11 people," he said.

"We shouldn't be trying to find ways to minimize the dangers that occur from irrational behavior. We should be working to eliminate irrational behavior and the empowerment of people who would seek to cause this type of carnage from continuing.

"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.”

Watch his comments below:

10:14 a.m. ET, October 28, 2018

Why the suspect is charged with hate crimes and not domestic terrorism

The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is being prosecuted as a hate crime, but not as domestic terrorism.

US Attorney Scott Brady explained why: "The distinction between a hate crime and domestic terrorism is a hate crime is where an individual is animated by a hatred or certain animus toward a person of a certain ethnicity or religious faith.

"It becomes domestic terrorism where there's an ideology that that person is then also trying to propagate through violence. We continue to see where that line is. But for now, at this place in our investigation, we're treating it as a hate crime and charging it as such."

10:03 a.m. ET, October 28, 2018

The victims of the shooting include a 97-year-old woman and couple in their 80s

Karl Williams, chief medical examiner for Allegheny County, provided the ages, names and locations of the 11 people killed in Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The victims were between 54 and 97 years old and included a pair of brothers and a married couple.

  • Joyce Fienberg, 75, Oakland neighborhood, Pittsburgh
  • Richard Gottfried, 65, Ross Township
  • Rose Mallinger, 97, Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Pittsburgh
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Edgewood Borough
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, brothers, Squirrel Hill
  • Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, married, Wilkinsburg
  • Daniel Stein, 71, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
  • Melvin Wax, 88, Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh
  • Irving Younger, 69, Mount Washington neighborhood, Pittsburgh
9:24 a.m. ET, October 28, 2018

Suspect in synagogue shooting acted alone

Investigators believe the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, Robert Bowers, acted alone in Saturday’s attack that killed 11 people, according to Robert Jones with the FBI.

Jones says there is no evidence to suggest Bowers had an accomplice.

Investigators recovered three Glock handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle at the Tree of Life synagogue, US Attorney Scott Brady said.

Bowers is accused of killing 11 people and injuring two in his shooting spree at the synagogue. In addition, four police officers responding to the scene were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

Jones praised as heroic the actions of police and SWAT officers who responded.

"Had he made it out of that facility, there is a strong possibility that additional violence would have occurred," he said.

Bowers is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

9:08 a.m. ET, October 28, 2018

This revamped Pittsburgh Steelers logo sends message "Stronger than Hate"

From Shelby Copeland

A uniquely Pittsburgh symbol of solidarity and strength is making its way around the internet in the aftermath of Saturday's deadly attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The image is a revamped Pittsburgh Steelers logo, with the Star of David substituting for the team's yellow star-like design. It's paired with the phrase "Stronger than Hate."

The Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. ET today, and Steelers President Art Rooney II said that there will be a moment of silence and prayer prior to the game.

"Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community," Rooney said.