A Pittsburgh community is experiencing a range of feelings and emotions — anger, grief, inspiration, renewed spirituality — that are bringing together residents and their supporters throughout the tightly knit enclave this week
The Squirrel Hill neighborhood hosted another slate of funerals for victims of last weekend’s synagogue shooting, a day after President Donald Trump and his family encountered demonstrators denouncing his visit. Local and state leaders also declined to accompany him on his travels.
Another protest is scheduled Wednesday evening
National Jewish leaders, meanwhile, are encouraging Americans of every faith to follow up last week’s deadly shooting by attending Shabbat services in their own hometowns in solidarity with Pittsburgh.
Crowds packed funerals Tuesday, with long lines snaking through streets and busloads of people coming from synagogues nationwide. Pedestrians quietly watched as motorcades and hearses passed by, followed on foot by mourners dressed in black. Others held hands and wept
Despite protests, funerals focus on victims
The community united to mourn the victims of what’s believed to be deadliest attack against Jews in US history but was divided over a visit by Trump.
Trump came to Pittsburgh to pay his respects Tuesday despite a request by local leaders to stay away until the dead were buried
As protesters condemned the visit, mourners attending the funerals focused on those killed.
The Rosenthal brothers were fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, and about 100 players and staff members paid their respects at the Rodef Shalom Congregation
Rabinowitz was remembered as caring. He became known in Pittsburgh as the “one to go to” for HIV care because he treated everyone with dignity and respect, former patient Michael Kerr said. His patients are among those grieving his death.”
Anything you wanted
Neighbors protest visit
Trump was accompanied to Tree of Life by Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The President and first lady lit a candle inside the vestibule for the 11 victims.
Outside, the Trumps participated in placing stones, a Jewish custom, atop 11 Star of David markers planted in the ground outside the synagogue. Melania Trump lay single white rosebuds.
Some neighbors in Squirrel Hill protested the visit and held signs saying, “Words Matter,” “Strength Through Unity,” “Watch Your Words” and “Hate Does Not Work in Our Neighborhoods.”
Not everyone was against Trump’s visit though.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading a service at Tree of Life when the shooting began, greeted the first couple at the synagogue and shared with them details of the horrific attack
Rabbi says congregants unbowed
The shooting struck at the heart of Pittsburgh’s historically Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood and reverberated across the nation
“We are Tree of Life, and as I said before to many, you can cut off some of the branches from our tree, but Tree of Life has been in Pittsburgh for 154 years. We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We will be back stronger and better than ever.”
An online fundraiser for those affected by the massacre had raised more than $944,000 by early Wednesday.
Two victims, a 70-year-old man
Outreach efforts extended to first responders as well. Those injured in the shooting include four law enforcement officers. One of them, a 40-year-old officer who directly confronted the gunman and suffered wounds to his extremities and pelvis, has been upgraded to stable condition. The other three officers have been discharged, a hospital spokeswoman said
Suspect faces federal and state charges
Suspect Robert Bowers, 46, faces 44 federal charges, including counts of hate crimes that are potentially punishable by death. He made his first court appearance Monday.
An investigator said Wednesday that the AR-15 rifle and three Glock handguns Bowers used in the attack were purchased legally.
Bowers was detained without bond, and his next court date is Thursday. The US attorney in Pittsburgh has started the process of seeking the death penalty.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said his office is looking into whether Bowers and others used social media platform Gab to incite violence based on evidence that the suspect posted anti-Semitic comments on the site. The state has not filed charges
Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab, defended the site. In an interview with CNN affiliate WBRE, he said he’s “horrified” the suspect used his site but said
During the interview, he wore a hat that said, “Make Speech Free Again.”
CNN’s Amir Vera and Jean Casarez contributed to this report.