15 photos from the candlelight vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

At least 11 people have died and at least 6 more are injured after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

A gunman opened fire during prayer services Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill, a neighbourhood that’s been home to Jewish families for nearly a century, according to Pittsburgh Magazine.

Law enforcement officials have identified the suspect as Robert Bowers, 46. Local CBS affiliate KDKA reported that he shouted “all Jews must die” as he opened fire.

The victims, who range in age from 54 to 97, include a family medicine doctor and a couple who were married at the Tree of Life Synagogue in 1956.

On Saturday evening, thousands of community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to honour those who were killed and injured. Here are 15 moments photographers captured during the gathering.

More than 3,000 people attended the candlelight vigil to honour and mourn the shooting victims, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesA large crowd of people stands at the candlelight vigil.

The vigil took place at the intersection of Murray and Forbes avenues, according to the Post-Gazette.

It was organised by students at nearby Taylor Allderdice High School.

Source: KDKA

“I didn’t think that this many people would listen to students, so it’s kind of crazy,” Emily Pressman, one of the student organisers, told a local news station.

Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesCandlelight illuminates the faces of vigil participants.

“Seeing everyone here is just really heartwarming,” Pressman (not pictured above) told local CBS affiliate KDKA. “This is just for the community to get together and be together. It’s for everyone, but it’s really just to warm our souls.”

The vigil began at a church before attendees took to the street.

The vigil started with a gathering at Pittsburgh’s Sixth Presbyterian Church, the Post-Gazette reported.

There, the church’s Reverend Vincent Kolb gave a speech, saying, “We gather because we are heartbroken but also to show zero tolerance for anti-Semitic speech, anti-Semitic behaviour and anti-Semitic violence.”

The remark prompted a standing ovation among the crowd, according to the Post-Gazette.

Local religious leaders offered words of comfort.

Rabbi Keren Gorban of Temple Sinai led the crowd at the church in Hebrew chant that means “May you spread your shelter of peace over us,” the Post-Gazette reported.

Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, also addressed the attendees.

“Obviously we’re all heartbroken, but how many of you are angry?” he said, according to the Post-Gazette. “And how could we not be? People were stolen from us.”

After the indoor portion concluded, those who’d been in the church joined hundreds more vigil participants waiting outside.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Once outdoors, many held candles.

And some carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain.

The vigil included songs and prayers in Hebrew and English.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Some participants chanted “vote, vote, vote!”

Source: Associated Press

Some in the crowd reportedly blamed the shooting on the current political climate in the United States.

Source: Associated Press

In addition to singing, the vigil also included speeches.

Source: KDKA

“I am a different Jew today than I was yesterday,” Sophia Levin, 15, said in a speech at the vigil.

“Anti-Semitism was something that happened in history, that happened in other places,” Levin (not pictured above) told the crowd, according to a report from the New York Times. “Tree of Life used to be just a synagogue that my grandparents went to, that my Mum grew up in, that we would go to on high holidays. And today I feel like it’s something different.”

A congressman in attendance called the vigil “beautiful” and “emotional.”

Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesMore vigil attendees holding candles.

US Congressman Mike Doyle, who represents Pennsylvania’s 14th district, attended the vigil, KDKA reported.

“This was a very emotional, beautiful vigil,” he told the station. “Our hearts are broken from this senseless, senseless hate crime against the Jewish community. To see these young students say what they had to say and to show that strength and the sense of community that exists here, that this is not something that we’re going to let break us, was really inspiring.”

Even after the vigil’s official conclusion, many participants stayed and continued to sing.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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