US President Donald Trump ordered that American flags be flown at half-staff following a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead. All flags at the White House, public grounds, military posts, naval stations and ships will be flown at half-staff through October 31 as a mark of "solemn respect" for the victims, Trump ordered.
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US prosecutors have slapped the gunman with 29 counts of federal crimes of violence and firearms offenses. This is the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent US history. The charges against shooter Robert Bowers include 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death; and 11 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence, the US Attorney's Office of the Western District of Pennsylvania said in a statement.
"The crimes of violence are based upon the federal civil rights laws prohibiting hate crimes," the statement said.
President Donald Trump said he has been monitoring the shooting. In a tweet, Trump encouraged people to shelter in place and said “looks like multiple fatalities.”
"Monitoring reports of a shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Praying for the fallen, the injured, all the families impacted, and our courageous first responders. God bless them all," Vice President Mike Pence said.
According to Michael Eisenberg, past president of Tree of Life Synagogue the shooting happened during weekly Shabbat services at the Jewish synagogue. At the time, three simultaneous congregation services were taking place.
Earlier, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf described it as a tragedy. "The shooting in Pittsburgh this morning is an absolute tragedy...These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans. My thoughts right now are focused on the victims, their families and making sure law enforcement has every resource they need," he said.
"We cannot accept this violence as normal," Wolf said.