Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich provided an update on the victims of a deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning.
A total of 11 people were confirmed dead. Though earlier reports indicated the shooting occurred during a baby-naming ceremony, he said no children were among the fatalities.
“Additionally, six injuries to include four of the police officers,” Hissrich said. “That does not include the suspect.”
At a press conference Saturday afternoon, he said that two local police officers were shot upon encountering the gunman and two SWAT team members were later shot while engaging with the suspect inside the place of worship.
Based on the apparent anti-Semitic nature of the crime, the FBI is expected to consider hate crime charges against suspected gunman, identified as Robert Bowers.
Hissrich said officers were first informed of the active shooter at 9:54 a.m. and officers were dispatched one minute later.
“An initial confrontation between the suspect and the officers officers occurred, injuring two of the officers,” he said. “Two additional officers were injured during the confrontation — those were SWAT officers.”
He went on to commend law enforcement on every level for assisting in the response to this violent crime.
“Multiple agencies responded to the incident this morning,” Hissrich said. “Without their courage, the tragedy would have been far worse. This includes numerous state, county, federal agencies as well as neighboring services, along with the City of Pittsburgh.”
EMS crews and attending medical personnel at area hospitals “should also be commended” for their life-saving efforts, he said.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert commended law enforcement, including “SWAT teams from around the region,” providing an update on the four injured officers.
“Two of the officers who were hit … were the first responders to the scene and they’re both in stable condition,” he said. “Two from our SWAT team, during an engagement inside the building, were struck as well. They’re in stable condition.”
At the time of the press conference, Schubert said he had been able to speak to two of the injured officers in the hospital.
“As soon as we get out of here, we’re going to go back and see them again and see their family and thank them for the job they did and for saving lives,” he said.
[Featured image: Robert Bowers, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation]