Thousands filled with grief at synagogue shooting vigil

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PITTSBURGH -- 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.

Vigil Organizer, Emily Pressman, said "Looking around I'm extremely surprised but ... by how many people are here. But at the same time I'm not because the community of Squirrel Hill is so close knit that I think that everyone would want to be together right now."

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.

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

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.

President Donald Trump, however, condemned 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."

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.

The shooting 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.

Continuing coverage, here.

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