A suspect has been detained following a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At least eight people have been reported dead and three officers injured.
Police radio chatter suggests the suspect told officers that “all these Jews need to die” and he “doesn’t want any of them to live” before being detained.
The shooter was carrying an AR-15 and a Glock pistol. An additional weapon was found attached to the suspect’s ankle, and a pistol in his waistband. A “military style package” was being checked inside the synagogue following reports of an explosive device.
The shooting took place at the Tree of Life synagogue on Wilkins Avenue. He apparently shot at officers when they arrived at the scene, forcing them to use their vehicles as shields. Police spokesman have confirmed that there were multiple people shot, but declined to confirm exact numbers. Three officers were among those shot.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan has reported that eight people were confirmed dead. Others have been shot but the extent of their injuries in unknown at this time.
The synagogue was reportedly full of people for a Saturday service when the shooting began. Police received several calls from people barricaded inside the building.
Details of dramatic police standoff with the shooter emerged via police radio broadcast on the Broadcastify website. An officer at the scene has told his colleagues over the police radio that there are “four down in the atrium.” Another one said “I’ve got one alive.”
“We need armor,” one police officer is heard saying, while another one requested to “open up the back for rescue.”
A SWAT crew was dispatched to the scene and there was a request for breaching equipment on the second floor, stating that there were rooms with locked doors. An “explosive device” was also mentioned by the officers on the radio.
The shooter was reportedly wearing a green jacket, a blue shirt, and blue jeans. The radio chatter has cited his date of birth as September 4, 1972.
Local authorities have confirmed the shooter situation. “ALERT: There is an active shooter in the area of WILKINS and Shady. Avoid the area,” the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department tweeted. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was on his way to the location of the incident.
The department has advised media to stop calling its cell phones. “It is draining batteries and interfering with communications.”