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The Latest: Trump orders flags be flown at half-staff

October 28, 2018
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People light candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Latest on a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue (all times local):

10:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has ordered flags at federal buildings throughout the United States to be flown at half-staff in “solemn respect” for the shooting victims at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Trump issued the proclamation late Saturday, shortly after returning to Washington from speaking at the Future Farmers of America convention in Indianapolis and a campaign rally in Murphysboro, Illinois.

Throughout the day, he expressed sorrow, called for justice and bemoaned hate, getting regular updates on the shooting. But he also campaigned for candidates and took shots at favorite Democratic targets. Trump said cancelling his appearance would make “sick, demented people important.”

In the proclamation, Trump called for the flags to be lowered until Oct. 31. Earlier in the day he told reporters he would travel to Pittsburgh, but offered no details.

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9:50 p.m.

The man suspected of killing 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh has been charged with obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.

Federal prosecutors say Robert Bowers was charged Saturday night in a 29-count criminal complaint. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.

The charges also include 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder, weapons offenses and charges alleging Bowers seriously injured police officers while obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs.

Authorities said six people, including four police officers, were also wounded during Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

The charging documents were not immediately available in a federal court records database. Prosecutors have scheduled a Sunday morning news conference to discuss the case.

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9:20 p.m.

Federal prosecutors have charged the suspected gunman in a massacre that killed 11 people at Pittsburgh synagogue with 29 charges, including using a firearm to commit murder.

Scott W. Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, announced the charges late Saturday, about 12 hours after they say Robert Bowers opened fire inside the Tree of Life synagogue.

A news conference was scheduled Sunday to discuss the charges.

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8:50 p.m.

A nurse and chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is among the survivors of a gunman’s deadly rampage through a synagogue on Saturday.

His brother tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Daniel Leger was in critical condition Saturday after undergoing surgery at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, Pennsylvania.

Paul Leger says his brother may need a second surgery.

Daniel Leger, who is married and has two sons, was scheduled to lead a service Saturday morning at the Tree of Life synagogue where 11 people died. He was among six injured, including four police officers.

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7:40 p.m.

Thousands of people jammed an intersection amid a light rain for a vigil Saturday evening for the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue earlier in the day. The gathering included prayers and singing in memory of those killed and wounded.

A “vote, vote, vote” chant broke out during the emotional gathering where some derided the nation’s political climate.

Several attendees blamed the shooting on the nation’s political climate and said they took little solace in a planned visit by President Donald Trump.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf attended the vigil, suspending a campaign bus trip after learning of the attack.

State Rep. Dan Frankel, who represents the district that includes the synagogue, was speaking at a house party about a block away when the shooting occurred. The Democrat said other attendees heard the gunfire.

“We’ll be dealing with this for months and years,” Frankel said. “It leaves an indelible mark.”

Frankel called the area the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, estimating about 20 synagogues are located with a couple miles of the vigil site.

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6:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “the hearts of all Americans are filled with grief, following the monstrous killing” at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Trump told a crowd at a political rally in Murphysboro, Illinois, that “the evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us.” He said: “This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst.”

The president said it must be “confronted and condemned everywhere it rears it very ugly head” Trump said “through the centuries the Jews have endured terrible persecution” and said “When you have crimes like this... we have to bring back the death penalty.”

Trump is hoping to help vulnerable Republicans in the Nov. 6 elections that will determine which party controls Congress. He’s planning at least 10 rallies over the five-day stretch before Election Day.

The Saturday shooting killed 11 people and left 6 injured at the Tree of Life synagogue. The shooter is in custody.

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6:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is condemning the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue as “an assault on humanity,” and calling on Americans to “unite to conquer hate.”

In a pair of tweets, Trump said, “All of America is in mourning over the mass murder of Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We pray for those who perished and their loved ones, and our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries.”

“This evil Anti-Semitic attack is an assault on humanity. It will take all of us working together to extract the poison of Anti-Semitism from our world. We must unite to conquer hate.”

The Saturday shooting killed 11 people and left 6 injured at the Tree of Life synagogue. The shooter is in custody.

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6:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will be going to Pittsburgh in the wake of a mass shooting at a synagogue.

Speaking to reporters in southern Illinois before a rally, Trump confirmed he would go but did not offer details.

Trump said he chose to continue with a campaign rally because he did not want “evil people” to control his life. But he said he would change his tone.

The suspect, Robert Bowers, is believed to have spewed anti-Semitic slurs and rhetoric on social media shortly before barging into a baby-naming ceremony at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday and opening fire. He is in custody at a local hospital.

Eleven people were killed and six injured in one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in U.S. history.

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5:50 p.m.

The founder and CEO of the social media site Gab.com has posted that PayPal has banned his site from using the online payment service.

The social media site is popular with far-right extremists and is where the alleged shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue had a profile.

PayPal spokeman Justin Higgs confirmed it canceled the Gab’s account.

Higgs wrote in an email: “The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.”

Earlier, Gab said it has suspended the alleged gunman’s account, backed up the content and notified the FBI.

Gab says its mission is to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.

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5:15 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Justice Department intends to file hate crime and other charges against the man accused in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11 people.

In a statement Saturday, Sessions said the killings were “reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation.”

That echoes earlier comments from President Donald Trump, who said such shooters should receive the death penalty and “suffer the ultimate price.

“The United States attorney in Pittsburgh said federal charges could be filed as soon as Saturday.

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5:10 p.m.

Police departments in several Phoenix-suburbs are stepping up visibility and patrols around houses of worship in their communities in the wake of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people were killed.

Television stations KTVK/KPHO report that cities where police said Saturday they’re stepping up patrols and taking other steps include Chandler, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale and that several police departments’ spokesmen said synagogues will get special attention.

Sgt. Ben Hoster of the Scottsdale Police Department said there weren’t any credible threats against religious institutions in the area bu that the extra precautions being taken are intended to ensure their safety.

Hoster said police are encouraging residents to be aware of their surroundings and to say something if they see anything suspicions.

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4:25 p.m.

An FBI official says the man suspected of killing 11 people at a Pennsylvania synagogue was not known to law enforcement.

Bob Jones, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Pittsburgh, says investigators believe Robert Bowers was acting alone.

He says Bowers’ full motive still isn’t known.

Jones said the scene of Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation was “the most horrific crime scene I have seen” in 22 years with the FBI.

Police say 11 people were killed and six people, including four police officers, were injured.

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3:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump has decided to go ahead with his Illinois political rally on Saturday.

He’d considered canceling it because of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack in which at least 10 people were killed.

But in remarks to young farmers in Indiana, Trump said “we can’t let evil change our life and change our schedule.”

He says he’ll go with a “heavy heart.”

Earlier, the president called the attack at a baby naming ceremony on Saturday morning a “wicked act of mass murder” that “is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable.”

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3:40 p.m.

The social media site Gab.com says the shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue had a profile on their website.

The company says the account was verified after Saturday’s shooting and matched the name of the gunman mentioned on police radio communications.

A law enforcement official identified the shooter to The Associated Press as Robert Bowers.

A man with the same name posted on Gab before the shooting that “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

HIAS is a nonprofit group that helps refugees around the world find safety and freedom. The organization says it is guided by Jewish values and history.

President and CEO Mark Hetfield says he wasn’t aware of the shooter’s “obsession with HIAS until this morning.”

Gab said in a statement that it suspended the alleged gunman’s account, backed up the content and notified the FBI.

Gab says its mission is to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.

The social media site is popular with far-right extremists.

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3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is condemning the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in which at least 10 people were killed, saying “there must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America.”

Trump is addressing the shooting as he speaks at a Future Farmers of America convention in Indianapolis.

Trump is calling the attack at a baby naming ceremony Saturday a “wicked act of mass murder” that “is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable.”

He says the nation and the word are “shocked and stunned” by grief and is calling on the country to come together.

Trump has at times been accused by critics of failing to adequately condemn hate, such as when he blamed “both sides” for the violence at a Charlottesville white supremacist rally.

He says that anti-Semitism “must be confronted anywhere and everywhere it appears”

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3 p.m.

People with knowledge of the investigation are telling The Associated Press that at least 10 people have died in the shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue.

Authorities say the gunman opened fire during a baby naming ceremony Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Six people were wounded, including six police officers.

The people spoke to the AP anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the shooting.

— Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa., and Eric Tucker in Washington.

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14:50 p.m.

Authorities say they’ve increased security at Jewish centers in New York City and elsewhere in the state in response to the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

New York Police Department officials say they are dispatching heavy weapons teams and squad cars to check on houses of worship across the city.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is saying in a statement that he also was directing state police to increase patrols at synagogues throughout the state.

The Democratic governor and the NYPD said that there were no specific threats and that the security measures were a precaution.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says authorities there are doing the same.

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14:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he may cancel a political rally in Illinois on Saturday after a deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

He tells reporters aboard Air Force One: “You can say we’re considering it.” Trump has arrived in Indianapolis to speak at the Future Farmers of America convention.

Trump says he has spoken with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. He also has discussed the shooting with his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Before departing Andrews Air Force Base, Trump told reporters that the shooting was “devastating” and suggested that the outcome would have been different if the synagogue employed an armed guard.

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14:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “a lot of people” were killed in the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday and it “looks definitely like it’s an anti-Semitic crime.”

Trump tells reporters at the airport in Indianapolis that what “happened today is a horrible, horrible thing.”

He says the FBI is now involved and there were “a lot of people killed” and “a lot of people very badly wounded.” He also says the crime scene is one of the worst many professionals have seen.

Police have a suspect in custody after Saturday’s attack at the Tree of Life Congregation.

A shooter opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony, killing an unknown number of people and wounding six others, including four police officers who dashed to the scene.

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2:15 p.m.

Shocked reactions are pouring in in response to the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is deploring “another horrific act of hate at a house of worship.”

He says the Saturday morning shooting is reminiscent of “the slaughter of nine African American worshippers at Charleston’s Mother Emmanuel Church in 2015, the killings of six Sikh worshippers at a temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2014, and, of course, the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 that left four young African American girls dead.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has tweeted: “We are devastated. Jews targeted on Shabbat morning at synagogue, a holy place of worship, is unconscionable. Our hearts break for the victims, their families, and the entire Jewish community.”

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1:50 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

“I was heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today,” Netanyahu said in a video message posted on Twitter shortly after the attack, which has killed at least two people and injured six.

Netanyahu says all of Israel is grieving with the families of the dead.

He adds: “We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded.”

Netanyahu posted the same message in Hebrew on Twitter minutes later.

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1:30 p.m.

A law enforcement official has identified the suspect in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue as Robert Bowers.

The official said Bowers was in his 40s.

The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Authorities said the gunman opened fire during a baby naming ceremony Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

City officials said six people, including four police officers, were injured. They said several people were also killed.

The synagogue is located about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh in a neighborhood that is the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

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By Michael Balsamo in Washington.

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1:25 p.m.

City officials say the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh is being investigated as a federal hate crime.

A visibly moved Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director, says six people were injured, including four police officers.

Hissrich called it “a very horrific crime scene” and said it is one of the worst he has seen, including some plane crashes.

Hissrich says there is no active threat to this community now that the shooter has been taken into custody.

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1:10 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro is saying that the shooter at the synagogue in Pittsburgh ‘shooter claimed innocent lives — and injured first responders — at a baby naming.’

Three officers were shot in the Saturday morning attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, and a local hospital said it was treating multiple victims.

It was not immediately known how many people had been injured or killed, though Shapiro’s statement appeared to show that at least two people had died.

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12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is responding to what he’s calling the “devastating” shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying: “It’s a ’terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country.”

Trump spoke to reporters at Andrews Air Force Base before traveling to Indianapolis.

He told reporters the violence “has to stop.”

Trump also said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue “had some kind of protection” from an armed guard and suggested that might be a good idea for all churches and synagogues.

He also said such shooters should receive the death penalty and “suffer the ultimate price.”

Three officers were shot in the Saturday morning attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. It was not immediately known how many people had been shot or killed.

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12:30 p.m.

Israel is expressing its shock and concern and offering assistance to the local community following the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Cabinet minister for diaspora affairs, made the comments following a Saturday morning shooting that police say has left several people dead.

Bennet says he is “following the news with concern,” and has instructed Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs to prepare to assist the community in every possible way.

He adds: “Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured. May the memory of the murdered be blessed.”

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12:15 p.m.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center system says it’s treating multiple victims from a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Paul Wood, the chief communications officer for the hospital system, said the patients are receiving care at UPMC Presbyterian, but he would not say how many.

Pittsburgh police say a shooter is in custody after an attack at the Tree of Life synagogue that left multiple casualties, including several injured officers.

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12:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s sports teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins, are expressing their condolences for the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Authorities say the Saturday morning shooting caused “multiple casualties,” and a suspect is in custody.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins are saying in separate statements on their Twitter pages that their “thoughts and prayers” are with all those affected by the shooting.

A police spokesman says police have no more information at this time because they were still trying to clear the building and determine if any more threats exist.

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11:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s been monitoring a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that police say has left multiple people dead.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and says “looks like multiple fatalities.”

Trump ended the tweet by saying “God Bless All!”

The shooting happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

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11:40 a.m.

Police are reporting a suspect is in custody after a shooting that caused “multiple casualties” at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday.

Three officers were also shot in the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Police spokesman Chris Togneri says police have no more information at this time because they are still trying to clear the building and figure out if any more threats exist.

The synagogue is located at the intersection of Wilkins and Shady avenues. The tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the hub of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.

President Donald Trump says he’s been monitoring the shooting. In a tweet, Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and said “looks like multiple fatalities.”

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