After law enforcement officials in Pittsburgh responded to a mass shooting at a local synagogue that left several victims dead, Donald Trump told reporters that the deadly hate crime might have been prevented if the victims had more weapons inside their house of worship.
According to CNN, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Kraus says that a 46-year-old alleged gunman, now being named as Robert Bowers, surrendered after reportedly killing multiple people near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a historic Jewish section of Pittsburgh. Emergency services responded to the incident at around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Authorities say 12 people were shot, including three law enforcement officers and at least 8 people were killed, according to NBC, in an incident that officials are calling a hate crime after a “heavy-set” white male reportedly yelled: “All Jews must die” before opening fire with a military-style assault weapon and two handguns during a religious service at one of the area’s largest places of Jewish worship.
“It is imperative that the neighbors in the community surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue stay in their houses and shelter in place,” Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando said. “Do not come out of your home right now. It is not safe.”
The Tree of Life Synagogue was holding Shabbat services as well as a bris, a traditional Jewish baby-naming and circumcision ceremony being held in the center that served as home to three different congregations.
When asked if the tragedy could have been averted by revisiting gun laws, Trump told reporters: “Maybe if they had some kind of protection inside, maybe the results would have been far better... maybe no one would have been killed, except for him... Maybe just this maniac.”
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.