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Multiple Deaths in Mass Shooting at Pittsburgh Jewish Synagogue; Synagogue Shooting Suspect with an Anti-Semitic Past in Custody; Shooting Suspect Had Active License to Carry a Firearm; Trump Speaks on Synagogue Shooting at Forum; Councilwoman Erika Strassburger Reacts to Synagogue Shooting; Synagogue Shooting Suspect with an Anti- Semitic Past in Custody; 10 Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting; Benjamin Netanyahu: "Heartbroken and Appalled" by Synagogue Shooting; What the Suspected Gunman's Social Media Pages Reveal; Uptick in Anti- Semitic Incidents. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 27, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:18] ANNOUCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: It is 3:00 here in New York, noon on the west coast. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us. I'm Alex Marquardt, here in New York, in this weekend for Ana Cabrera.
It has happened again. A mass shooting in America. Several people dead. Others wounded. The FBI calling this now a hate crime.
Now, this is the latest. We now know the killer's name. He is in custody. It happened here at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh during Saturday shabbat services. The gunman walked inside and started shooting. City officials have not yet announced an exact death toll. They only said there are multiple fatalities and the scene inside the temple is very bad. At least six people are wounded, most of them police officers who responded to the scene.
The man who opened fire on that synagogue has been identified. His name is Robert Bowers, 46 years old. He is alive and has been detained by the police.
One of the many threats that law enforcement is now looking at is his online history. Which now includes a list, a growing list of anti- Jewish posts.
President Trump spoke to reporters about the shooting a short time ago. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They didn't have any protection. They had a maniac walk in and they didn't have any protection. And that is just so sad to see. So sad to see. The results could have been much better. It is a very, very -- it is a very difficult thing, for me to stand, as president, and to watch any of this go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: CNN's Nick Valencia has been on this story all day.
Nick, bring us up to speed on the latest.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, an awful, awful day in America. Here we are yet again talking about another mass shooting. This time in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This is what we can tell you. At about 9:45 is typically when shabbat services start at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Shabbat, of course, is the busiest day of any synagogue. And within 30 minutes at CNN we got our first reports of an active shooter. Police raced to the scene. As we understand it, they did engage this alleged gunman, who, at this point, is believed to have been the only gunman. And here is what we can tell you. At least 12 people were shot, according to initial reporting from sources close to our crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz. At least four people were killed. Or the local affiliates are reporting a number that is slightly higher. We did hear at a press conference from the public safety director at Pittsburgh who did not corroborate those deaths only to say six people injured, including four officers. He said three people were in critical condition.
At this point, it is being investigated as a hate crime, a federal violation, if only because we understand this shooter was saying some anti-Semitic remarks while this shooting was going on. Which happened, I should say, during a service, while that service was occurring. The past president of the Tree of Life Synagogue, saying an estimated, maybe 90 to 100 people were present in the synagogue at the time of the shooting.
This alleged gunman has been identified. We saw a glimpse of him on your screen. A 46-year-old white male. I don't even want to dignify him by saying his name. But police are looking into his history, especially his social media profile, Alex, as well as his anti-Semitic remarks.
MARQUARDT: Nick, let's talk more about the social media history. One of the targets in his post is a Jewish refugee agency. What do we know about what he said about them and about Jews in those posts?
VALENCIA: An official from the refugee agency was on just a little while ago with Fredricka Whitfield. He said, at least individually, he was unaware of this alleged gunman making threats toward the organization. That is very evident from his social media posts, on a forum called Gab.com. He has extensive anti-Semitic profile. And all of that will be part of the investigation, Alex. Right now, it seems the anti-Semitism is a motive for the attack. But why he targeted this specific synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which is a high concentration of the Jewish community, why he targeted this synagogue is all part of the investigation.
MARQUARDT: And, Nick, part of his posts listed a number of shabbat services, including one that was nearby to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Nick Valencia, in Atlanta, thank you so much.
VALENCIA: You bet.
MARQUARDT: Let's bring in our reporters and experts to break this all down. With us is national security analyst for CNN, Juliette Kayyem, and CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz. And just joining us now is Josh Campbell, who used to be, of course, with the FBI.
Gentlemen, Juliette, thanks for being with us this afternoon.
Shimon, let's start you with.
You have been speaking with law enforcement sources all day. We have gotten his name. We have gotten his age. A photo. What more do we know about the profile of the shooter?
[15:05:04] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: So we know that, as Nick was saying, he was -- this is clearly a hate crime. There was anti-Semitic words that were uttered during the shooting, even as police were trying to take him into custody. He was talking about Jews and a hatred towards Jews. So clearly lots of evidence this is all motivated toward hate, hatred towards Jews.
The FBI now taking the lead, because it is now obviously a hate crime and upping it to a federal hate crime. The U.S. attorney has enough evidence already, they have already drawn up the charges, so we will see the federal criminal complaint filed against him.
He is in the hospital, is what local police have said. It is possible because there was an exchange of gunfire and he may have been injured during that.
And a lot of what we know about him comes from his social media postings, obviously, a lot of the anti-Jew postings. So, look, I think it is fair to say that the police there, the FBI there, know everything they need to know about this, about what the motivation is, and now, there's, you know, going through, trying to see if there's anything that could have prevented this. This is going to be a key part of, I think, the FBI investigation.
MARQUARDT: The red flag, always a big question.
Josh, we understand you have new reporting, new information. What do you have.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Obviously, we talk about this troubling -- some of these troubling social media posts that we've been looking at. When law enforcement officials first showed up, we are told they looked at the area around the synagogue to determine is this a target of opportunity, is this something that was possibly targeted based on the what it is, a house of worship there outside of Pittsburgh. The social media posts obviously are now leading officers in a refined direction, so to speak, where it doesn't look like it was just a target of opportunity. But based on some of the anti-Semitic things that we have been seeing on social media, they think that is the prevailing view right now, leading in that direction. Again, we don't know at this point what he actually told officers. As Shimon mentioned, he was taken to the hospital right after the incident. And then the next step would be to interview him, to gather information. And we're not sure if he is being cooperative, if he is providing details. Obviously, that could be a potential gold mine for law enforcement officers if he does, indeed, talk to them about what he did.
One thing I will say lastly and, again, there has been so much going on, this last week, when it comes to violence, and obviously we're familiar with the package bombings, that were sent across the country. The similarities are there in the sense that law enforcement officers try to figure out what is the motivation, and in that case, you had someone who was out there on social media, essentially telling us what he believed. This appears to be another one of those individuals who is not necessarily hiding what his thoughts are, because at least the initial scrub on social media, we see some of the very troubling anti- Semitic comments.
MARQUARDT: He had a license to carry?
CAMPBELL: That's right. We're working on the reporting right now. We are gathering information. That's one thing they're looking at. But that will be an interesting thing that law enforcement officers always look at. What was the method of attack? What did they use. And as we mentioned, were there missed opportunities? How did he actually obtain the firearm that was used during the incident? Again, lots of questions remaining.
MARQUARDT: We will get a lot more details on that I'm sure in the coming hours.
Juliette, let's go to you.
We mentioned this is being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime. Why would this not be domestic terrorism, for example? Because the definition from the FBI is that it is, "perpetrated by individuals or groups inspired or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, or environmental nature."
And the religious nature of this is quite obvious. Why is not terrorism?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So right now, there's a couple of reasons why they wouldn't argue it is terrorism right now, because terrorism is a crime of motivation. So even though it may seem obvious to us, right now, because we're looking at social media, we just want to wait. So prosecutors can always up the charges, in terms of terrorism. But it is clearly a hate crime, because the hate crime has to do with the target. In this case, of course, a religious ceremony at an orthodox Jewish synagogue.
Just to put this in perspective as a non-Jew, married to someone who is Jewish and raising three Jewish kids, the naming ceremony is the most intimate and joyful of ceremonies that you can imagine in the faith. It is crowded with lots of kids, explaining the Jewish name, as well as the American or English name if there's one. And so the horror of this is amplified. It is much like one can imagine going into a wedding. This is the similarity.
A couple of other things about what we know right now. This Web site that a lot of people don't know about, Gab. Gab -- I'm in communication with Gab right now. Gab has taken his postings offline and has offered them to the FBI and investigators. What we don't know is whether anything was done with his -- in terms of action, by Gab, to either bring down his site, notify authorities or notify the potential targets. We heard in the last hour, from Frederica's guest, with the immigration refugee group, that they had not been notified that they were the subject of concern, that someone had been essentially targeting them. So while there's a lot going on, but there's anti-Semitism of course, name it, and also a sense of anti- immigrant or refugee. That seems to be a line in this right now.
So clearly, a hate crime. It can always be ratcheted up at later stages. But right now, of course, it is just to try to get this community back together.
[15:10:25] MARQUARDT: That platform, Gab, that you mentioned, not terribly well known to most, I would imagine. I hadn't heard of it until today. And apparently, it has notoriously lax speech rules. But they have come out with a --
KAYYEM: Yes, and notification.
MARQUARDT: OK --
KAYYEM: Yes of course, and the notification issue is big. Twitter gets into trouble, too, if someone is violent online. Is there an obligation to notify or -- to notify or bring the site down? And we don't know what Gab did. And it looks like a history of really horrific things put on the Web site.
MARQUARDT: Right. Right.
All right. Back to Josh Campbell. We have in the past few moments confirmed that Bowers, the suspect, had an active license, has an active license to carry a firearm.
CAMPBELL: That's right. We are working out contracts with law enforcement to gather information. And there's an entire operation behind the scenes that basically vets information that we're getting to make sure it is accurate before we put it out. We can say the subject, this is, in fact, being involved in the shooting today, was a licensed firearm -- had a licensed permit there in Pennsylvania. And we're learning that from some of our law enforcement contacts. He was suspected of purchasing at least six firearms since 1996. MARQUARDT: Right.
CAMPBELL: Six firearms. There are a lot of questions here we don't know. We don't know a lot about what took place as far as the caliber of the weapon that was used. The details. We don't know if that firearm that was used in today's incident was purchased legally or where he got it. But we are starting to paint a picture of him as a firearm owner and had six purchases since '96.
PROKUPECZ: That will be significant for law enforcement, because there's going to be questions about were there signs and when is the last time he purchased a weapon and because the president --
MARQUARDT: And of course, what's kind.
Let's get back to that. President Trump has walked out on stage in Indianapolis. We will take a listen to what he has to say. He made brief remarks earlier about this shooting. And one would expect that he will again, now at the top of his comments.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wow.
TRUMP: Wow. I want to thank you.
When I hear the word "future farmer," that's a very, very important term. You're very smart doing that. Future farmer. I hear some people want to go into a business or an industry. I say I wouldn't want to do that but I would like to be a future farmer. That, I can tell you.
TRUMP: But as you know, earlier today, there was a horrific shooting targeting and killing Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shooter is in custody. And federal authorities have been dispatched to support state and local police and conduct a full and thorough federal investigation.
This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe and, frankly, something that is unimaginable. Our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief. This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age. But we just don't seem to learn from the past. Our minds cannot comprehend the cruel hate and the twisted malice that could cause a person to unleash such terrible violence during a baby naming ceremony. This was a baby naming ceremony at a sacred house of worship on the holy day of sabbath.
[15:15:19] Anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. The vile hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears. There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice. You know that. You know that very well.
TRUMP: You know that very well.
TRUMP: You're outstanding people. You were brought up incredibly by outstanding parents in most cases. And I just want to thank you for your understanding because, today, with one unified voice, we condemn the historic evil of anti-Semitism and every other form of evil. And unfortunately, evil comes in many forms. And we come together as one American people.
I have just spoken --
TRUMP: Go ahead. We should, we should.
TRUMP: I have just spoken with the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, terrific guy, and with the governor of Pennsylvania, who have I been dealing with quite a bit lately on the hurricanes, and other things, Tom Wolf -- two terrific people -- to assure the full and complete resources of my administration in the investigation of this attack.
We are praying for the families of the victims. And our hearts go out to the wounded law enforcement officers in Pittsburgh, very badly wounded, and very brave. The results and the facts will be put out very shortly. But these were very brave officers. These are incredible people of law enforcement, and law enforcement does so much for us. So much for us.
TRUMP: They really do. They do so much for us. And they really are unsung heroes. They don't get the credit they deserve. But I have always given them the credit. These are incredible patriots, incredible people. We mourn for the unthinkable loss of life that took place today. And
we pledge in their name to fight for a future of justice, safety, tolerance, morality, dignity and love. We must all rise above the hate, move past our divisions, and embrace our common destiny as Americans. And it doesn't mean that we can't fight hard and be strong and say what's on our mind, but we have to always remember those elements. We have to remember the elements of love and dignity and respect and so many others.
As we hold Pennsylvania and the great people of Pennsylvania close in our hearts and prayers, I am glad to be here today in the wonderful state of Indiana -- we love Indiana --
TRUMP: -- and to address some people that are going to be so successful, the Future Farmers of America.
TRUMP: Especially, especially --
MARQUARDT: All right, the president there addressing the horrific shooting in Pittsburgh at the top of his remarks. He said that all of the federal assets that the city needs have been dispatched. He called this attack pure evil. Said it was hard to believe and unimaginable. He did call this an anti-Semitic act and condemned anti-Semitism and other evil in all its forms. He did interestingly confirm that this did happen during a bris, a naming ceremony, on Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue. And he went on to thank law enforcement, which, of course, has had a very busy week in Florida, in New York, trying to track down those packages containing bombs sent to high-level Democratic officials and others and who are now very busy investigating this horrific shooting in Pittsburgh.
[15:20:34] We will take a quick break and we will be back with our guests right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: -- the ultimate punishment. You know what the ultimate punishment then, this time. We can't let this happen this time. And if it does happen, they have to pay a very big price. And it has to go much quicker. Not 10 years of legal wrangling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:25:05] MARQUARDT: The president there in Indianapolis, saying that the death penalty, the pace of the death penalty needs to be stepped up, in cases like this, resulting in harsher punishments for shooters who carry out these mass murders.
Now, we have just confirmed that at least 10 people were killed in this morning's shooting. Five more injured at that synagogue, the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The suspect is alive. And in custody at this hour.
We have city councilwoman, Erika Strassburger, who is joining us by phone.
Councilwoman, first of all, our deepest condolences from all of us here at CNN. We know that you represent Squirrel Hill. What can you tell us about how the community is reacting?
ERIKA STRASSBURGER, PITTSBURGH CITY COUNCILWOMAN (via telephone): Well, thank you for the condolences. It is obviously an incredibly sad day for the city of Pittsburgh and the very tight-knit Squirrel Hill community that I, in part, represent. And I can tell you that a set of elected leaders, who were gathered near the site today, and participated in a press conference there, along with the other city councilman, Corey O'Connor, who also represents part of Squirrel Hill, we walked the streets of the downtown district after the event and after the all-clear was given, and it was a ghost town, frankly. And I think people are really hunkering down, spending time with friends and family, and like me, are probably in a state of shock.
MARQUARDT: Councilwoman, we did confirm through your colleague, Mr. O'Connor's office, that the 10 people -- that is the death toll -- 10 people have been killed. What more do you know?
STRASSBURGER: We are going to be finding out the details at a 4:00 p.m. press briefing that the FBI will be handling. And the FBI is handling as a hate crime and so that's why the feds are involved at this point. And not much more has been confirmed than what you've already heard about the injuries, the number of people in the synagogue at the time of the shooting, the circumstances, and really anything else. There's an active investigation. So I don't have many more details that I'm able to share about the incident at this point.
MARQUARDT: We understand. There's a lot coming out that has not yet been confirmed. But what we do know is that the shooter had a long history of targeting Jews online, of spewing ugly vitriol about the Jewish community. Do you know at all if he was known to local authorities?
STRASSBURGER: I don't know if he is known to local authorities. What I can say, I have talked to many people who have attended synagogue, not necessarily that synagogue or another synagogue -- and I myself are a member of our Jewish community center where, in the past, there have been bomb threats and scares, who feel as if they need to turn and look over their shoulder every time they are in a place of worship or the JCC, which is obviously a sad statement, a statement of the times we live in. So although, you know, I don't think anyone was expecting this at all, obviously, it is a horrific event. And many of us I think are still in a state of shock, comprehending the scale and the horrific nature of this. I don't think it came as much as a supply surprise, sadly, as it might have, otherwise. MARQUARDT: Squirrel Hill, of course, is a famously historic Jewish
community. The Tree of Life Synagogue is a conservative synagogue. What could you tell us about the types of people who would have been there on a Saturday morning? We now understand that it was for a bris.
STRASSBURGER: Well, we also don't have confirmation of exactly what types of activities were happening, but we heard certainly a bris, a school for children, regular Saturday morning services. So people from all walks of life, maybe not just from the Squirrel Hill community but from elsewhere, attending, as they normally would, on a Saturday morning. It is an incredibly, incredibly -- sad is not enough of a word to describe this type of event. It is shocking. It is horrific. And it is incredibly sad.
MARQUARDT: Erika Strassburger, councilwoman for that area of Pittsburgh. Again, we are so sorry and can't begin to imagine what you and the community are going through. Our thoughts are certainly with you. Thank you for joining us.
All right, we are going to take another quick break. And on the other side, we will be live on the scene in Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh.
[15:34:11] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this afternoon. Ten people killed inside a mass shooting inside a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday morning. Police have identified the suspected shooter who opened fire. His name is Robert Bower, 46 years old. Law enforcement sources have told CNN that the suspect had made anti-Jewish comments during the deadly rampage. Four police officers were injured before taking the suspected shooter into custody.
Here is what Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM WOLF, (D), PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: This is an incredibly sad day for all of us. And we have some things that people want to report on. But I just want to say on behalf of everybody, in Pennsylvania, these were our neighbors. These are fellow Pennsylvanians. And this is an incredibly sad day.
I want to thank the first responders for doing what they have done to make us safe and to respond so quickly, so effectively to this tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:35:09] MARQUARDT: An incredibly sad day.
I want to go to CNN's Sonia Moghe in Pittsburgh. She has just arrived on the scene.
We understand, Sonia, there's still a perimeter around the synagogue. What are you seeing on the ground? SONIA MOGHE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alex. This is as far
as they will allow us to go. We're seeing multiple emergency vehicles near the entrance to that synagogue.
I spoke to neighbors who were clearly in shock right now, many of them are sitting in their homes, texting each other, trying to find out if they knew anyone who might have been killed as you saw that number, it has now gone up to 10. And one woman I spoke to said whether or not you're a part of this synagogue, or any of the congregations inside of it, she knew that, you know, people are going to know many of the people who have been affected. This woman told me that when the shooting happened, she was at the grocery store, shopping this morning, and she got a call from a little girl whose friends with her daughter who lives just across the street and she told me that little girl called her asking if she could come to their home because she heard there's a shooting happening. That mother understandably abandoned her shopping cart, ran home, went to go grab that young girl across the street. And when she did, she heard gunshots, brought that girl to her own home, with her daughter where she sheltered in place for safety. And you know, now, the scene here is secure. It is clear that that woman says she and other neighbors for so long were not sure if it was.
And now they are focusing finding out what to do how they can help and they will put together a memorial tonight, a vigil, it doesn't matter your faith, they are welcome to come, and this is something that devastated this community, which is a well to do part of Pittsburgh. Predominantly, Jewish area. Historically, Jewish area. And the synagogue itself is made up of multiple congregations inside. Some of them more traditional, some of them reconstructionists, some progressive. So many different types of people practicing different interpretations of the faith under that roof. And neighbors here are devastated.
MARQUARDT: That is a very good point. This was a synagogue, we understand, with not just different strains of Jewish worshippers but also different rooms. And so we're still trying to get a sense of how this all under folded.
Sonia, I did note that there's a perimeter there, and we've also seen the pictures of heavy law enforcement presence. Can you tell us if the people that you have spoken with, or are the people in Squirrel Hill allowed to move around? Are they still on lockdown?
MOGHE: Absolutely. They are walking around. We're seeing neighbors walking down the street behind me. And you know, law enforcement is trying to update the media. They have a really difficult job on their hands right now. They are trying to both investigate, keep this area secure, maintain that crime scene, but also to let people know what is going on. So many people have a vested interest in this, you know, from the White House, across the country, and even across the world. We've seen outpourings of support and grief over this. So people want to know what is going on. They are setting up an emergency operations center nearby to brief the media. So we will be hearing more from authorities in the 4:00 hour. FBI is obviously leading the investigation. So they will be there and updating with more details on what happened and what they know.
MARQUARDT: That's right. Not just local law enforcement. We should note this is being led by the FBI. As you noted, ATF has also been involved.
Sonia Moghe, on the ground in Squirrel Hill. We know you will stay on top of this. Thanks for joining us. We will check in with you in just a little bit.
The Pittsburgh community understandably shocked and reeling from this mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. This, as Sonia was just saying, is a quiet close-knit community. Community leaders as we have been hearing are still coming to terms, trying to cope with this tragedy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDELL HISSRICH, PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR: We've had a tragedy here today. The work of the first responders probably prevented it from becoming much more tragedy than what it is. The scene is very bad.
It is a very horrific crime scene. It is one of the worst that I've seen. And I've been on some plane crashes. It is very bad.
RICH FITZGERALD, COUNTY EXECUTIVE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY: This is shocking. These are our friends. These are our neighbors. And when this list of victims comes out, it is going to be people that we know. So I think you've got the mayor, who lives right here. Senator Costa. We all grew up here. Representative Frankel. And you can see the outpouring of the governor coming here immediately. It's just -- it's shocking. There's no words, quite frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:39:52] MARQUARDT: And here, you can hear the emotion, the grief, the shock, in the voices of the local leaders there.
We will have much more on this breaking news right ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED RABBI: May we continue under the leadership of our president, who works tirelessly to fight evil at home and around the world, may we join him in the fight. And may we always remember that the presence of a few evil people among us does not define this country. We are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth. And for that, we thank you. Amen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:45:06] MARQUARDT: A rabbi speaking there at the president's event in Indianapolis.
The president, just before that had called this an anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh, that we now know has left 10 people dead inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Now, there's a lot of reaction coming out of Israel. We know that many in the community in Squirrel Hill had close ties with Israel. Law enforcement sources have told CNN that the suspected shooter, Robert Bowers, made anti-Jewish comments during the deadly rampage, as he gunned down now at least 10 people, and others who are still wounded.
Here is what Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to say in response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I was heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue today. The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Joining me now is CNN's correspondent in Jerusalem, Oren Liebermann.
Oren, as I mentioned, many of in this community had close ties to Israel. I was listening to someone who had just gotten back from there. How are people in Israel reacting to this tragedy?
OREN LIBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Alex, especially at times like this, after a shooting attack like this at a synagogue, those ties are stronger than ever. And there will always be that connection between Jews living overseas, whether in the U.S., South America, Europe, or elsewhere. And Jews living here in Jerusalem and here in Israel. That's put on display, especially after you see an attack like this.
And let me put this in context of the weekend here. It was already a tense weekend, with a sharp escalation between Israel and Gaza. Alex, you have reported here, you know, the feeling that the pressure it puts on the leaders here. It was the end of the sabbath, the end of what was supposed to be a day of rest when news of the shooting reached Israel here, and that's when Israeli leaders found out. It was moments after the sabbath ended. Just a short while after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put out the statement you heard there. And we have heard so many statements like that, from not only Israel politicians and Israeli officials but also Jewish community leaders, some of whom live here and some of whom were traveling here from the U.S. or on vacation from the U.S. because of that bond you had mentioned.
Allow me to read you a statement from Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin. He was one of the first to put out a statement. He said, "We are thinking of ourselves brothers and sisters, the whole house of Israel in this time of trouble. As we say in the morning prayers, we are thinking of the families of those who were murdered and praying for the quick recovery of those who were injured. I'm sure the law enforcement agencies and the legal authorities in the U.S. will investigate the event thoroughly and that justice will be served on this despicable murder."
We heard that from many statements like that coming from the politicians and the leaders here as they try to build that bridge and as they try to cross that bridge and try to help the Pittsburgh community as well as the larger Jewish-American community as it tries to cope with this and as it tries to recover from.
This the minister of education, who is also the minister of Diaspora Affairs, is already on his way to Pittsburgh to see what he can do, and what else the community can do. And that is an outreach effort we expect to see grow here in the coming days here -- Alex?
MARQUARDT: Oren, I was struck by a quote from Jeff Finkelstein, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. He said everyone thinks about Israel in situations like this, which I took it to mean that many in the Jewish communities here think about going to Israel for security reasons. That's something that we have seen also happen in Europe, which is very distressing, and very sad, if that's what this has come to.
Oren Liebermann, in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
All right, much more on our breaking news is coming up. What the suspected gunman's social media pages are now revealing. We've got new images just into CNN. Stay with us.
[15:53:13] MARQUARDT: Just into CNN, these are images that the shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, posted on the social media portal, Gab. They show Bower's handgun collection, at least part of it, and photos of shooting targets.
Now, CNN is also learning from a law enforcement official that Bowers had made anti-Jewish comments during the shooting this morning. Bower has also targeted Jews on-line and posted, "I'm going in in," shortly before the shooting.
Officials say this is being considered a hate crime and is being investigated as such. And the FBI is now in charge of the investigation.
Joining me again are CNN's law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell, and CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz. Josh, first to you.
These new pictures, of course, you know, plenty of people have guns, plenty of people have guns legally. Bowers did as well. But there's some captions accompanying this as well. What are you taking away from these?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: As we look at this, we're digging into the shooter's past, as law enforcement is right now, looking at social media. Again, when you think about social media, at least information that's publicly available, this is something that people want the public to know. Otherwise, it would be protected and locked down, you know, in the privacy settings. Obviously, this person was a gun enthusiast, as evidenced by some of the images that -- I'm not sure if we have them on the screen there -- but you have, you know, several handguns and target practice here. He is actually talking about --
MARQUARDT: His Glock family.
CAMPBELL: His Glock family. Right. It looks like this is possibly a community within the social media platform. Guns of Gab is what it's called. I think the main takeaway here is we can't look at this and say this is evidence of some kind of criminality. I would say this isn't even necessarily troubling. Look at this. This is the writings of a gun enthusiast. But I think it does tell us that he did have some familiarity with weapons and actually knew how to manipulate them, as evidenced by the targets that he showed.
[15:55:05] MARQUARDT: Correct.
And, Shimon, to you.
We have the audio. We're getting it ready from the scanner, which you listened to in real time. And part of that audio talks about a high- powered rifle that was being used. What did you hear?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: So as I was listening to the scanner this was all unfolding. And we're pulling that now and we hope to have that --
PROKUPECZ: You can really hear how organized and how well the police were operating within the synagogue, moving through the hallways, trying to find victims. This is exactly what they were doing. Yes, they described that the shooter had a high-powered A.K. They believed it because, in the middle of the hallway, they found a magazine. They though perhaps that's the kind of weapon he was using. They described what he looked like, tall white male, short hair, light blue shirt, jeans. They talk about -- then they start talking about the victims and how they were evacuating one of the victims, still alive. And then they come across some dead. They said, "Four down in the atrium, DOA at this time." Then they were concerned that the shooter may have been in the basement. Then they say that they found four victims in the atrium, total eight down. And then there were also rescuing people. So keep this in mind, they're searching for the shooter, a live active shooter.
PROKUPECZ: And in the middle of that, they are rescuing and removing people who have been shot and victims in this really awful, awful situation.
MARQUARDT: Incredibly chilling. As you mentioned, when the president talks about the heroism of law enforcement, this is exactly what we're dealing with.
And we are preparing the audio. We'll have that soon.
Guys, stay with me.
We're going to Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Brian, first, you study these hate crimes, these types of attacks. When you heard the news, what was your reaction?
BRIAN LEVIN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO: We've been girding for these kinds of horrible things. Post-Charlottesville, what we've seen is a fragmentation and splintering of not only the leadership of the organization of these far-right anti-Semitic groups, going into Charlottesville and just after, we saw more mega-rallies, large rallies by white nationalists and Neo-Nazis in those two and a half years than the previous 10 to 20. ADL reports a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents. We saw, from 2014 to 2016, FBI data showing an increase of about 12 percent in anti-Semitic instances.
Here's what the danger is. November 2016 was the worst month for a hate crime -- that's election month -- that we've seen in 14 years. And the day after Election Day, there was an anti-Muslim bomb plot, and the most hate crimes in over a decade, since 2003. This fragmentation that's been going on in this far-right world has taken place as they've gotten traction with mainstream politics. And what we've been saying for some time is that we fear actions from loners who are these loose cherries that have either fallen off these groups or who are fellow travelers on social media. He has been on Gab. "Salon" called it Twitter for racists. If you look at the anti- Semitic statements on there, it's pretty clear what his motive appears to be.
MARQUARDT: Right. You said it very quickly there, but I want to highlight that figure, a 57 percent uptick in anti-Semitic attacks, and that was last year in 2017. Of course, this year not yet over.
LEVIN: Anti-Semitic incidents include non-criminal. But the bottom line, here's something else we've been seeing. We saw an uptick of double digits over the last couple of years, 2014 to 2016, in anti- Semitic incidents. Our research, looking at the largest study in the United States, shows that Jews are in the top three in nearly every one of them, and number one in New York City.
Also, I think it was noteworthy that President Trump went to Indiana and Indianapolis to talk about anti-Semitism, but that state just refused to add a hate crime log to its statutes, one of five that have no hate crime law.
We're very concerned about this uptick in political violence. And one of the things that we've seen is sometimes, but not always, state and political leaders, like the president, also correlate to significant spikes in hate crime, particularly when it comes around a catalytic incident like a terror attack or an election.
MARQUARDT: All right, Brian Levin, thank you so much for your expertise and for joining us.
LEVIN: Thank you, Alex.
MARQUARDT: All right.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MARQUARDT: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Alex Marquardt, in for Ana Cabrera this afternoon.
Back to our breaking news this hour. A deadly mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is now being considered and investigated by the FBI as a hate crime. At any moment, we're expecting the police will update the public on the tragic events this morning in Pittsburgh.
Here, in the meantime, is what we do know. That 10 people were killed, six others were injured, including among them four police officers. It happened at a synagogue called the Tree of Life during morning services.