“We grieve for you, we support you, we are here for you.”
By Amanda Reed
Pittsburgh Current Staff Writer
In a Sunday morning press conference law enforcement officials released the names of all 11 victims — all over the age of 50 — killed in Saturday’s Tree of Life Synagogue shooting.
Dr. Karl Williams, chief medical examiner of Allegheny County, named the 11 victims, whose ages range from 54 to 97. Families were notified throughout the night and morning.
The victims are Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland; Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross; Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood; brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, and David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill; Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg and Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg, who are married; Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill; Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill; and Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington.
Along with asking for privacy for the victim’s families, Williams said the Medical Examiner’s office is “trying to balance the needs of a criminal investigation with needs of the families.” A Jewish funeral typically occurs 24 hours after death.
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh CEO and President Jeffrey Finkelstein, spoke after Williams read the names of the deceased.
“I’ve seen this room a lot of times on TV and I’d never thought I’d be at this podium,” he said.
Other details were also released Sunday morning, including a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania by FBI Special Agent Brian Collins.
The complaint states that Bowers entered the synagogue armed with a Colt AR-15, as well as three Glock .357 handguns. Bowers also made statements toward people of the Jewish faith, repeating comments regarding genocide and his desire to kill Jewish people, according to the complaint.
“For example, Bowers commented to one law enforcement officer, in substance, ‘they’re committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews’,” the complaint said.
Chief of Police Scott Schubert said that of the four officers shot, one is already discharged, with another expected to be discharged today. The other two face a longer recovery, he said.
“We grieve for you, we support you, we are here for you,” Schubert said.
According to Wendell Hissrich, director of public safety, Wilkins and Shady avenues will be closed for up to a week as they continue to gather forensic evidence.
Scott Brady, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said that prosecutors are testing whether attack could also be charged as domestic terrorism, but they are treating it as a hate crime for now.
“Today we stand together a as community, a community that rejects hatred and violence,” he said.
Robert Bowers, 46, will make his initial court appearance tomorrow.
Finkelstein said the Jewish community will overcome the tragedy in the the following weeks.
“We will get past this and always be a strong Jewish community like we’ve always been,” he said.
During the press conference, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto lauded Squirrel Hill’s diversity, the city’ fortitude and the teamwork between the different branches of Pittsburgh public safety department during the shooting.
“Pittsburgh’s a strong town. We are a resilient city. We’ve been knocked down and we’ve always found ways to get back up. And we’ve always done it in one way: by working together,” he said.
No future press conferences are planned.