by Vivian Lee
On Saturday morning, October 27, 2017, a mass shooting was reported at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill region of Pittsburgh, PA. A suspect, Robert Gregory Bowers, was apprehended at the scene, after being wounded by SWAT officers. Before he was taken into custody, Bowers is said to have killed 11 of the congregants and injured six, including four members of the SWAT team that he engaged in two separate gun battles. Bowers was allegedly armed with “an AR-15-style assault rifle,” a Glock pistol, and two other handguns.
The officers who rushed to the scene came upon Mr. Bowers as he was trying to leave the synagogue. He fired at them, injuring one officer in the hand, according to the criminal complaint. Another officer had injuries to his face from shrapnel and broken glass. Mr. Bowers then darted back inside and ran up to the third floor.
At that point, a SWAT team went in and came upon the scene of the massacre. Two people were still alive and the police carried them out. As they were searching for other victims, SWAT officers encountered Mr. Bowers, who fired at them and critically injured two officers.
The remaining officers “engaged the suspect in a gun battle in which multiple rounds were exchanged,” the criminal complaint said. At some point in the shootout, Mr. Bowers was wounded, and he eventually surrendered to the police.
Bowers reportedly entered the synagogue just before 10 am, and “the Allegheny County Emergency Operations center received calls of an active shooter at 9:54 am ET…Officers were dispatched at 9:55 am,” according to CNN. In all, Bowers is said to have been inside the synagogue for a full 20 minutes.
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