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Israel Reacts to Mass Shooting at U.S. Synagogue; Suspect Robert Bowers Had Long History of Anti-Semitism; Kevin McCarthy Sends Out Anti-Semitic-Sounding Tweet, Deletes It; New Audio of Officers After Rushing to Synagogue Shooting. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 27, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Alex Marquardt in this afternoon for Ana Cabrera.
We have breaking news. Many more details coming to light this evening. Since today's terrifying and senseless mass shooting in Pittsburgh. Officials there now confirming that 11 people are dead, gunned down by a man who walked into a synagogue during religious services this morning and opened fire. Several others are wounded, many of them police officers who responded very quickly to the active shooter call.
This is the man now in custody. He is believed, according to law enforcement, to have acted alone. His name is Robert Bowers. He is 46 years old. With a long history, we are learning, of posting hateful anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic messages on-line, on social media, as well as bragging about his gun collection.
Now, just a few minutes ago, officials in Pittsburgh, both local and federal gave us an update. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDELL HISSRICH, PUBLIC SAFETRY DIRECTOR, PITTSBURH: These incidents usually occur in other cities. Today, the nightmare has hit home here in the city of Pittsburgh.
Any attack on one community of faith in Pennsylvania is an attack against every community of faith in Pennsylvania. And I want the Jewish community across the commonwealth and across the country to know that we stand in support of you as we, together, mourn this senseless act of violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: CNN's Jean Casarez is joining us now live in Pittsburgh. Jean, we just heard that press conference, and we learned that the death toll had risen to 11 people. Can you update us on what other details you're learning?
ALEX CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We just learned so much just minutes ago. One thing is that one of the victims, a 70- year-old male, is currently right now in his second surgery. He had gunshot wounds to the torso to major organs. Initially went through his first surgery, now is in the midst of his second and is in critical condition.
We also now have a firm, at this point, timeline of what exactly happened when. CNN has confirmed that at 9:49 was the final social media post of this suspect. He said many things, but one of the most poignant things he said was, "I'm going in."
And then, at 9:54, according to law enforcement, the call came in to dispatch. At 9:55, officers were dispatched. They arrived at the synagogue. The first officer went into the synagogue and met head on with the suspect, exchanging gunfire and he was injured.
Now, what law enforcement just said minutes ago was even a more finite timeline than that. That at that point of time when the first officer, a Pittsburgh police officer, went in to engage the suspect, that the suspect had already we heard murdered, I'll say allegedly murdered, 11 people inside the synagogue. And that's when the exchange of gunfire.
Then, the suspect went back into the synagogue, we understand, to try to actually take cover himself because he realized law enforcement was there. And it went on from there. Four law enforcement officers have been injured; 11 people in total are now deceased. There are two that are currently in critical condition, a 61-year-old female, the extremities to the soft tissue, along with the 70-year-old male.
We also understand that there was one AK-47 that was found at the scene along with three assault rifles, along with three handguns. They will know more if all of those weapons were fired. Once they do, the crime scene investigation, which they are in midst of now.
We want you to listen to the 911 dispatch call that CNN has obtained of what was going on in the amidst of it all. Listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrol at the front door, we've got to -- we've got to evacuate some of these hostages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Received a request for patrol at the front door, evacuating hostages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a spent magazine. It looks like a -- it's a high-powered AK. Middle hallway off the one-four corner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a description.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead send it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tall, white male, short hair, light blue shirt, jeans. Again, that's tall white male, short hair, light blue shirt, jeans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got one alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're re-evacing one right now, still alive. We have at least four down in the atrium, DOA at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there earlier intel that he may be in the basement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a report of at least one victim in the basement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an additional four victims. Four victims second story (ph) atrium off the front hall. A total of eight down. One rescued at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your status in the basement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He went (ph) probably at the bottom of the stairwell. Cleared to the left. Working room to the right. We have rifle cases in here of blood.
[17:05:09] CASAREZ: We also now know that three emergency room medical physicians arrived at the scene, momentarily began to triage the injured. The FBI, Pittsburgh field office is in charge of this investigation. And the U.S. attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania, Alex, said criminal charges will be filed as early as tonight.
MARQUARDT: All right, Jean Casarez is there on the scene for us in Pittsburgh. Jean, we know you will stay all over this. Thanks so much. We'll check in with you in a little bit.
Turning now to the panel. Joining me is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, former secret service agent, Jonathan Wackrow; and former supervisory special agent, Josh Campbell; former commanding officer for the NYPD counterterrorism division, Michael O'Neill; and CNN Crime and Justice Reporter Shimon Prokupecz.
Shimon, let's start with you. We have been talking about this incredible audio. And you've got the transcript there in front of you. What we just heard from Jean there when she played that is just how incredibly calm and collected these people -- these officers were as they went in to face someone who law enforcement officers are now saying had a high-powered rifle.
Before I get to you, let's just play a bit more of that audio quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, be advised, we have a suspect (INAUDIBLE) view (INAUDIBLE.) All units show (ph) what you got.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a (INAUDIBLE) up on the third floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven-one (INAUDIBLE) command. Can I get a confirmation of what the suspect was wearing? (INAUDIBLE) to be make sure we don't have two shooters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The initial description from the responding officer was a green jacket. And then, later, there was a 911 call from inside the structure that said a blue shirt and blue jeans. Suspect says his name is Robert Bowers. Rob Bowers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: United 375.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven one, seven one, actor's name is Rob Bowers, 46 years old.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: September 4, 1972.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: September 4th of 1972. He is giving us a date of birth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight two three (ph). (INAUDIBLE.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That 7123 we've already communicated to the team. Check for I.D.s or something. Suspect is carrying at AR-15 and a Glock at this time. AR-15 and Glock which matches our magazines on one four and one two, working the problem.
Please (ph) be advised, suspect is crawling. He's injured. Nine to three (ph) yards. Trying to talk to him, telling him to continue to crawl at this time. The seven-one suspect is talking about all these Jews need to die. We're still communicating with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, be advised, we've got black jacket (INAUDIBLE), red shirt at this time. We don't know if he changed clothes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect keeps telling about killing Jews. He doesn't want any of them to live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right, I already relayed that. I'm on the other side of the stairs. Copy that.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, a lot more new information in that -- in that new piece of audio. Among all that information is the type of weapon used and confirmation that he said, all these Jews need to die.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, I was listening to that live as it was -- I was at home, actually. And I was listening to it. And it was -- really, it struck me just how well organized the police officers were, right? We hear that they train this.
But it's so rare that we actually get a window insight to them actually doing this kind of an operation.
And also, when you think about, they were in there. They were looking for someone who's now they believe is armed with this high-powered rifle. They're trying to rescue people. They're trying to get people out safely. They, themselves, are getting injured.
And, really, you know, we have the motive right there. You know, they're saying this is what he's saying. What the suspect -- as he's even surrendering, he's wounded.
PROKUPECZ: The police, at this point, have wounded him. They're trying to get him to surrender. They're saying, have him crawl. Have him crawl. And he's talking about how Jews need to die.
MARQUARDT: And several of the officers, themselves, also wounded we now understand.
MARQUARDT: Jonathan, what stands out to you, when you listen to both these two pieces of audio?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAWENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Listen, the law enforcement officers, the patrol officers that went in first, they provided very clear tactical language that they utilized throughout their time inside. They provided situational awareness for responding officers to come in.
Listen, this is a very dynamic situation for these guys. They know that there's someone in there that's actively killing. That patrol officer is walking around. He sees dead bodies in front of him. There's a physiological and psychological effect that law enforcement now has to train for to suppress that to -- because they have to go after the killer. That is their number one priority.
So, the immediate responding officers that went in did a fantastic job. This is what law enforcement is training for every single day now, these active shooter mass shooting, you know, situations. It doesn't matter whether you're with, you know, federal law enforcement or a local municipality. This is the -- this is the threat environment that we live in now. And all law enforcement is being trained this way.
[17:10:00] And it's actually saving lives. Because, you know, the tactics that they're putting forth, even the officers that were injured, they're providing self-care under fire.
WACKROW: They're making sure that they survive that incident, so others can live and they can stay in the fight and address the threat.
MARQUARDT: So, that falls execution just a reflection of this new reality here in America.
MARQUARDT: Josh, to you. You've been doing a lot of reporting on the types of weapons that he has had, Bowers has owned. We just heard in that dispatch that one of the weapons that was used was an AR-15, of course a model that we've seen at other mass shootings, as well as a Glock. We have social media pictures that you posted, talking about his Glock family.
What no -- more do we know about his weapons and his -- and the legality and what licenses he had?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. So, we're building a narrative, a picture on this person. We do know, in talking to some of our law enforcement contacts, that he did have an active permit to carry in the state of Pennsylvania. He had illegal -- he had legally purchased weapons going back to 1996.
The thing is we still don't know if the weapons that were used in this incident were weapons that were legally purchased. We have two separate things. We know he has purchased them legally. We don't know that these are the ones that he actually purchased legally.
And the other thing is, in talking to law enforcement contacts, we haven't heard the fact that there was a high-powered rifle, like an AR-15, that was in his past as a purchase. So, whether that was more recently obtained, whether that was obtained legally, again, something we don't know. A lot of questions.
MARQUARDT: I want to see if we have that piece of sound from President Trump earlier today, as he was taking off from Andrews to a rally in Indianapolis. When he was asked about whether this should prompt another conversation about gun control. Let's listen to that first, Mike, and I'll ask you a question out of that.
MICHAEL O'NEILL, FORMER COMMANDING OFFICER, NYPD COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION: No problem.
MARQUARDT: This is the president earlier today at Andrews -- at Andrews Airport.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you think he needs to revisit gun laws (INAUDIBLE)?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Talk up, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gun laws. Gun laws, Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, again, this has little to do with it if you take a look. If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect. But if they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a much different situation. They didn't. He was able to do things that, unfortunately, he shouldn't have been able to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: All right, the president there at Joint Base Andrews before taking off to Indianapolis. Mike, he -- the president there seeming to put the onus on the victims. That if this synagogue had had the wherewithal to get an armed security guard, that this could have been prevented. And it, seemingly, allowing no room for discussion over guns.
O'NEILL: Yes, you -- there's always two sides to this sometimes when these events happen. More guns will stop this. Less guns would prevent this.
But I will tell you is putting a gun in an untrained person's hand could be as dangerous as having no gun at all. If you are going to deploy an armed asset to counter this threat, they need to be well- trained professionals, what law enforcement does for a living.
O'NEILL: You can't just check the box that someone was on. If they're not trained in the use of that firearm, unfortunately, sometimes they can cause more harm than good.
MARQUARDT: And Jewish communities, across this country in synagogues, know that they're a threat.
MARQUARDT: And, particularly, these days. So, presumably, the synagogue would have taken steps and had discussed their security with law enforcement.
CAMPBELL: Yes, in a post-911 environment, there's grant -- there's federal grants out there that I'm aware of called House of worship grants that these synagogues, temples, mosques, religious institutions take advantage of every year. And, usually, that's to get some type of grant funding and increase physical security, some type of security presence.
So, they're actively engaged in the post-911 realm all the time with their federal partners and the local law enforcement partners. And they do some kind of physical assessment in these locations.
MARQUARDT: Can I make one additional point on the weapons. So, I don't want to weigh in on the gun control debate, the political side of it. But I will tell you this, and we all know this. Whether it's the secret service academy, the FBI academy, NYPD academy, law enforcement officers during training will fire thousands and thousands of rounds.
CAMPBELL: And the reason that it takes place is because it's actually described that, look, we are trying to get you to a certain level of proficiency in a non-stress environment to hone your skills. The law enforcement officers know that when you're in these tactical situations, when the stress hormones are coursing through your veins, your level of sophisticate -- or accuracy diminishes greatly for law enforcement officers. So, if you take, as Mike said, an untrained citizen who hasn't gone this training of thousands and thousands of rounds, it's not a panacea. It's not the end all be all.
O'NEILL: I want to tell you, at the NYPD even, there's active shooter protocols. But, just to that point, there's different levels, even in law enforcement, on shooting engagement, right?
O'NEILL: And it's a job of a supervisor -- when you are doing this, there are tactical teams that are well proficient in this. But the responding law enforcement officers even to kind of minimize the damage until tactical teams are going to get there. Sometimes the NYPD has programs called designated shooters, and they interview the officers on the scene and say, what's your proficiency? (INAUDIBLE.)
O'NEILL: It's a tool for a law enforcement officer. Again, just like I said, I know it's a term you can throw out there, we should have armed people
O'NEILL: But there's a lot behind having an armed person in a location.
WACKROW: But, Alex, this goes to the president's defaulting to a reactive security posture. Meaning a guy with a gun shows up. A good guy with a gun responds. The problem ends.
WACKROW: That's not -- that's not the solution. It takes a more comprehensive, you know, solution that's proactive, where you put proactive policies and procedures. Let's be real. We've been talking that houses of worship are soft targets for years now.
WACKROW: Years. There's grant money that's out there, whether it's a church or a synagogue regardless. They're soft targets. They need to be fortified.
WACKROW: There's policies and procedures that can be put in place proactively to create a sense of situational awareness. The Jewish community is very aware of this. They're actually the forerunner of this.
WACKROW: Organizations such as the Community Security Service here in New York actually goes to synagogues. They teach people how to protect themselves. How to -- how to be alerted to anomalies behavior. How to look at anomalies around, again and to protect yourself.
So, there needs to be a balance between proactive and reactive security measures here. There just isn't one solution.
MARQUARDT: All right, guys, stay with me. We've got a lot more to discuss. We are going to take a quick break. Much more on of our continuing coverage right after this.
[17:15:03] MARQUARDT: The suspect in today's mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh had an extensive anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish digital footprint. A source is also telling CNN that the alleged gunman made anti-Jewish comments during the rampage.
So, everyone is back with me to discuss this. Joining us is also Brian Stelter, our Chief Media Correspondent. Brian, a lot of these anti-Semitic -- this anti-Semitic vitriol that we're -- that we're now digging up or seeing more and more of it, was posted a social media platform called Gab, which, frankly, until today, I had not heard of.
But just tell us, overall, what is Gab?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a --
MARQUARDT: How do people use it?
STELTER: -- fringe Web site that's a version of Twitter. Think of it as a version of Twitter, but it's popular among alt-right members and other kind of folks that don't feel welcome on sites like Twitter or Facebook. Why don't they feel welcome? Because Twitter and Facebook, despite all their many, many flaws, enforce a lot of guidelines, a lot of rules of the road. Gab's claim to fame is you can put up pretty much whatever you want, no matter how racist or ugly, and it's going to stay up on the site.
So, this person or this individual was using Gab to share his anti- Semitic views. And as our colleague, Paul Murphy, pointed out, he's been doing a lot of research into this suspect's social media platform, anti-Semitism was a fuel. It was a -- it fueled other hate speech that the suspect was posting.
So, it wasn't just anti-Semitism. It was also hate about immigrants. Hate about other individuals. But at the core was this deep anti- Semitism that you see on the social media footprint.
MARQUARDT: And in one -- in several of the messages that he was posting was against a Jewish refugee resettlement agency. And that was his point is that -- one of the points he was making, is that this agency is bringing people in, Jews in. And he said, among many other things, that my people are being slaughtered.
STELTER: Yes, this wonderful group, HIAS.
STELTER: It says, we help strangers.
STELTER: We help refugees. They've been making a big effort about this in the past few days.
MARQUARDT: For decades.
STELTER: Think about the timing. But, yes, for decades they've been doing it. The past few days, a big effort to help refugees, given this migrant caravan story.
STELTER: And some of the rhetoric you see on this suspect's social media profile, talking about invaders, talking about illegals. This is also what you hear on the far right. On talk radio, you hear about an alleged invasion, that obviously is not really happening.
STELTER: But that's the rhetoric on the far right. Some of these issues is with this suspect and with the bomb suspect in Florida. It's about our poisoned information environment.
STELTER: Where people who are prone to radicalization. People who are vulnerable and are reading all of these nonsense and hate speech online, they become radicalized by what they read and what they hear. And then, they do crazy things.
MARQUARDT: Josh, we've just gotten in a statement from the -- from the attorney general, Jeff Sessions. He says the Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty. This is something that we were expecting as soon as today. Your reaction to the Sessions statement.
CAMPBELL: Well, it appears that the Department of Justice is bringing the full weight of federal law to this case. We understand that it quickly went federal with the FBI assuming jurisdiction on the ground with the investigation. And behind the scenes now, prosecutors will now assume a purview of the case now that the person has been taken into custody.
The subject will be interviewed. We imagine that's going on right now. There was an indication that he was hospitalized. Whether he's able to actually speak with investigators, that's still a question that we don't know. But they're going to want to interview him as quickly as they can. He will, then at some point, be presented before a federal magistrate, and then the process will begin.
But, again, federal authorities bringing the full weight to bear here, it appears, going after the subject as a potential death penalty case. Very serious violations, obviously.
MARQUARDT: And then, in the press conference by local and federal authorities earlier, they made a distinct point not to say what he was saying, if he was talking.
CAMPBELL: Right. And that's a good, actually. And what was interesting and to what Brian was talking about. You know, you look into the social media pass. All of this is potential evidence that is now going to be used in this case. Fusing that together with what Jonathan was talking about earlier with this audio, those officers responding are now witnesses.
CAMPBELL: Because when they hear him making those anti-Semitic comments, all of this will be brought together, this evidence and vitality, to prosecute this individual.
MARQUARDT: Jonathan, because you have also dealt a lot with this platform, Gab, I just wanted to highlight some of other comments that we have not yet reported on.
As we know, Trump's daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism. She married Jared Kushner, who is an orthodox Jew. And he wrote, and I'm not going to read it in its entirety because it's incredibly offensive, Trump is surrounded by, and then he says a slur. As long as Trump is surrounded by, things will stay the course. There is no MAGA, Making America Great Again, as long as there is a, blank, infestation.
So, you have dealt a lot with Gab and this type of speech in your professional life?
WASKROW: So, it's digital threat intelligence. It's looking beyond the Twitters, the Facebooks, the Instagrams. It's starting to dive into threatening statements that are made in the deep and dark Web, alt Web sites.
[17:25:10] So, when we start looking at this individual, we're going to be looking at, obviously, his statements on Gab, but beyond that. How many other things has he been posting on? Again, these are red flags, but they highlight a real challenge for law enforcement. Is the availability to, you know, take all of this information in, digest it, and then make a decision as to do we go and look at this individual?
Like, how do we -- what is the threshold for law enforcement engagement? I mean, Twitter and Facebook and everything like that, they have standards.
MARQUARDT: Right. WASKROW: When you start going into the domain that has no standards, then it's a free reign. Behind paid fire walls, what is law enforcement's ability to get in there and start looking at early warning of, you know, anomalous behavior. Some red flags.
Every single time we've sat at this desk ask talk about, well, there was a posting here. There was a posting there. But how can law enforcement engage? And I think that's what we need to look at is giving law enforcement the tools to look at everything.
Listen, there's analytics around, you know, digital media every single day. I mean, Target can tell, based on my profile, when I want to buy a blender. Right?
WASKROW: They should be able to come up with algorithms across the board, become unified to start looking at this anomalous behavior to see what is an early warning sign for --
WASKROW: -- behavior that moves -- that has the potential to move along the continuum from just rhetoric to physical action?
STELTER: And just for the record, Gab says, hey, we support law enforcement. We contacted the FBI today. That's what they say.
STELTER: But the existence of these sites, where you can do anything, say anything.
STELTER: And, usually, these guys will claim, oh, I don't mean it. I'm just playing around. But some of them are serious.
WASKROW: -- the tools that they need.
MARQUARDT: But, Mike, even if they do have these tools, true monitor, even if they have the manpower to monitor all these different sites --
MARQUARDT: -- and if the environment is fracturing every single day, it's -- you can't act on that, necessarily, short of, you know, an actual threat.
O'NEILL: Well, I will tell you, major police departments have social media awareness platforms now to monitor the Twitter and Facebook for a host of reasons, gang activity, lots of things. It's important.
With a case like this, though, unless you know about the individual -- let's just say we have that algorithm that's going to say, I'm going to go after them. Put yourself in the law enforcement shoes. If you don't know who it is, you don't know where their location is, they're not geolocated, it really isn't helpful.
O'NEILL: Because we don't know where to go to protect them or engage them.
With that said, someone creates a threat profile on him, whether it's neighbors, it's family, for whatever the reason, there's not enough evidence there for an arrest. But there's a lot of radical views and behavior. Somebody comes through and says, I think he's going to commit violence. You could do a target profile on somebody then. And if they say something like that, --
O'NEILL: -- then maybe you can engage. But I will tell you, this is where civil liberties and law enforcement crash.
MARQUARDT: (INAUDIBLE.) No, sorry. No, please.
O'NEILL: But, you know, if -- because if you do that with one person, a civil libertarian is going to tell you, oh, this is big brother now watching.
MARQUARDT: Right, of course.
O'NEILL: Now, these are the things that society has to balance. Like to protect -- just like we did after 911. To protect the country, there are certain measures we have to take. You have to explain it to the public. And I think people generally agree. As long as it's not being abused, staying monitored.
But I, without question, the first responders are the people that actually have to engage with these people, need that ability to do it.
O'NEILL: Let me give you one example, too, just as an example. So, we've been showing the images here of the firearms, right?
O'NEIL: That the subject had on his guns of Gab account. These are pictures of targets and the firearms. This is not evidence of crime, in and of itself. This is protective First Amendment activity. This is someone who's saying, I like weapons. I'm going to -- and I'm an enthusiast. And I actually shoot pretty well.
But what does it mean when this has been overlaid with some of this anti-Semitic garbage that we've seen associated with this person? Again, that goes back to the question I usually mention about building profiles. This taken together may be something that then moves it to another level. The question is, is anybody looking? STELTER: And him posting -- this man posting on Gab five minutes
before going into the synagogue saying, I'm going in. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say five minutes could have made a difference. If someone had seen that on Gab, they could have stopped him. But there have been cases where people have posted the day before or the night before.
STELTER: That they might take some kind of action. And it's imperative that all of us, kind of collectively, in law enforcement, in the media, and in the technology companies, get better at observing and witnessing and recognizing how serious this behavior is online.
You know, the virtual world, it's the real world now.
STELTER: The digital space. There are real life consequences now.
MARQUARDT: And as you were just saying, in comparison to the guy who was sending out all these bombs this week, he had a very normal online presence. And, seemingly, no real red flags.
STELTER: I think with the suspect in Florida with the bombs, lots of, you know, kind of, angry political messages. But there wasn't the kind of anti-Semitic or kind of --
MARQUARDT: Right, where he crossed the line.
STELTER: -- or racist hate, necessarily, that we're seeing here. What I see as the connection between the two cases is the idea that on the Internet, you can be radicalized.
STELTER: The way we talk about terrorists and other countries being radicalized. Americans are being radicalized by crazy conspiracy theories, far right-wing Web sites, and some of the dark anti-social sites that spreading these.
[17:30:03] MARQUARDT: And how often -- for how long have we been using that exact same language, when we're talking about terrorism?
Guys, we've got to take a quick break. Brian, Mike, Josh and Jonathan, thank you so much.
We will be right back right after this.
MARQUARDT: Today's deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue is now drawing an emotional and supportive response from Israel. Just to refresh you, a gunman walked in and opened fire during Shabbat services, killing 11 people this morning and wounding six, for of whom are police officers. That was in Pittsburgh in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
[17:35:06] Law enforcement sources are telling CNN this is the suspect, Robert Bowers. He is the alleged gunman who was arrested at the scene. We understand he is wounded and at the hospital.
And during that attack, he made anti-Semitic comments as he went on his rampage.
Minutes before, Bowers posted on social media, quote, "I'm going in."
Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, says, quote, "We will stand together like a rock against hatred and against those that hate Jews all over the world."
For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this.
(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 in 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 Jerusalem correspondent, Oren Liebermann.
Oren, immediately following the first reports about the shooting, we started getting responses, not just from the highest levels of Israel officialdom and the government, but an outpouring the grief on the street. How are people reacting?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERSUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The overwhelming sentiment has been a bit of what you just heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu and from Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. The general idea has been Israel an attack on the Jewish community anywhere in the world, whether in the U.S., Europe, South America or elsewhere, it's an attack on the entire Jewish community. And nowhere is it felt more acutely than here, that Israel, which tries to be a safe haven, a secure place for the Jewish community to come, whether they want to move here or visit here. But this is supposed to be a safe place for Jews. It is at times like this, at times when you have an attack like this against a Jewish community with such a strong anti-Semitic nature, that the need for a safe haven for Jews is felt. That's why you see this outpouring of help and this outpouring of support from the Jewish community here, from not only from politicians and officials, but also from Jewish community leaders.
In fact, just a short time after the attack, the minister of education, who also serves as the minister of affairs, said he was immediately flying to Pittsburgh to do whatever he could to offer whatever he could from the Israeli government, from the Israeli people to the synagogue there in Pittsburgh. And that has been part of what we've seen that outpouring of help, that outpouring of support as well as statements offering condolences and thoughts and prayers.
Allow me to read a statement from Israel's president. Reuven Rivlin. He was one of the first to issue a statement. He said, "We are thinking of our 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."
Statements like that from so many officials here gives you an idea of how strong that bond is, even if it is 4,000 to 5,000 miles apart between Pittsburgh and the country of Israel.
The attack happened during shabbat services, during the sabbath services. It actually happened as the sabbath was ending. It has already been a difficult weekend here with the sharp escalation between Israel and Gaza. Even as the escalation was coming to an end, even as the sabbath was ending, that's when the news reports started coming in about this horrific attack. And that has made the ending of the sabbath more difficult here -- Alex?
MARQUARDT: The Israeli response really highlighting that unique relationship between Israel and Jews around the world.
Oren Liebermann, in Jerusalem, thank you very much.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
[17:43:24] MARQUARDT: Updating you now on our breaking news, 11 people died in a mass shooting in Pittsburgh earlier today. The suspect has been named. He is 46-year-old Robert Bowers. And we have now discovered a long and heavy digital footprint full of anti-Semitic posts and comments. A law enforcement source also telling CNN that Bowers made anti-Jewish comments during the shooting.
I want to bring in Rabbi Joshua Stanton, from the East End Temple here in New York.
Rabbi, when we have an incident like this, a horrific murder, a series of murders, how does that reverberate in Jewish communities across the country?
JOSHUA STANTON, RABBI, EAST END TEMPLE: It's the sum of all fears. There's a sense of heart break. There's a sense of oneness. There's the idea that in some way we are all grieving together. And before people were even buried, the reverberations of rhetoric stung our ears and hurt our hearts. So it's been a very difficult day on so many levels because we haven't even had the chance to absorb the news, and already we're swept up in a political maelstrom. MARQUARDT: I remember I was reporting in Paris after the Charlie
Hebdo attacks, and you'll remember Les talked about the attack on a kosher supermarket. And I was talking to a lot of Parisian Jews, and there were talking about their fears, and that's been happening for a long time in Europe where a lot of Jews have been feeling a lot more afraid, and many are emigrating to Israel.
I read a quote today from Jeff Finkelstein, the CEO of a Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and he said you know everyone thinks about Israel in situations like this.
Is that a sentiment that is growing where American Jews are feeling increasingly in danger and would think about the possibility of moving them and their families to Israel.
[17:45:04] STANTON: I think right now we're really thinking about each other. Almost immediately after the attacks, I spoke with the co-presidents of our synagogue just by way of an ongoing text conversation to figure out what we should do, how we should support our community, how we could help them and support them in the grieving process. How we could reach out to people who had relatives in Pittsburgh. We are such a deeply American community. We have been here, many of us, for generations. I don't think many are looking to go anywhere else. We want our homes to be safe. We want to be safe in the United States. And the fact that we don't at moments like this is just terrible.
MARQUARDT: Why do you feel that the danger is increasing, and that the rhetoric is getting worse?
STANTON: So I fear the growth of homegrown terrorists and people who have been radicalized, primarily white supremacists -- and we have heard at the highest levels of government rhetoric that makes my skin crawl. The anti-Semitic dog whistles, conversations about globalists, the idea that after Charlottesville there were good people on both sides. All of the rhetoric about George Soros and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are a horror. And they somehow seem to be connected, whether enabling or supporting or energizing people's worst instincts and energizing a part of the population that had been for so long marginalized. My fear is that hate is going mainstream. And my fear is that even at the same time as we grieve, we have to understand more clearly the broader causes of this upswing in rhetoric and this upswing in hate.
MARQUARDT: Earlier today, Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, deleted a tweet where he had said that, can't allow George Soros, Mike Bloomberg, Tom Steyer to buy this election. Now, he took that down in the wake of this shooting.
To your point, he was -- he must have been keenly aware of how anti- Semitic that sounded, and that this is going mainstream.
STANTON: It's going mainstream. And what is so stunning, the role of our leaders, the role of our elected officials is to stand with all Americans and to support all Americans, not to propagate hate. The words that I heard from our president today were deeply disappointing. He had one job, to provide comfort for those that were mourning, and instead his words sounded to me like an advertisement for gun companies. They sounded like callas words of someone just going through a campaign rally rather than stopping to go to Pittsburgh and be with those who are grieving, to comfort families, to comfort widows, to comfort orphans. And our tradition, that is seen as one of the highest acts of kindness is to be with those who are heartbroken and grieving. And instead, we just heard more empty rhetoric from a person who is already engaged in anti-Semitic dog whistles. I was hurt, I was offended, and I was deeply saddened as a human being, a Jewish person, and an American, and a rabbi.
MARQUARDT: I want to get your quick reaction to what the president said very quickly where he went off to Indianapolis. He said that the synagogue -- if the synagogue had a security guard, quote, "They might have been able to stop him." Putting essentially the blame on the victims.
STANTON: If felt like victim blaming to me. I was appalled and I was saddened. His job was to comfort victims, not to blame victims.
MARQUARDT: All right. Rabbi, our thoughts are with you and the rest of the Jewish community. Thanks so much for coming in.
STANTON: Thank you very much.
MARQUARDT: All right. We're going to take a quick break. More of our continuing coverage of the massacre in Pittsburgh right after this.
[17:53:02] MARQUARDT: The community of Pittsburgh, particularly, the Jewish community, reeling from the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. And 11 people killed, six wounded, including four police officers, who we're told are in stable condition. The police are being praised for their fast and efficient response.
This is new audio of the dispatch from the moments after they rushed to the scene of that mass shooting.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Be advised. We have a suspect. Negotiate at this time. All units what you got.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: On the third floor.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 7-1. I need a confirmation on what the suspect was wearing. I need to make sure we don't have two shooters.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: The initial description from the responding officer was a green jacket, and then later, there was a 9-1-1 call from inside the structure that said a blue shirt and blue jeans.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Suspect is Robert Bowers, Robert Bowers.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 7-1, 7-1. Actor's name is Rob Bowers, 46 years old.
UNIDENTIIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Give us the date of birth.
UNIDENTIIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: And '72 given us the date of birth. Heavy jacket.
UNIDENTIIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 7-1, we've already communicated. Check for I.D. of the subject.
UNIDENTIIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: The Glock at this time. It matches the magazines of the four one and two. Working the problem. Advice suspect, (INAUDIBLE). SWAT talked to him. Continue.
UNIDENTIIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 7-1. Suspect is talking about all these Jews need to die. We're still communicating with him.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Be advised. Red shirt this time. We don't know if he changed clothes.
[17:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: The suspect keeps telling about killing Jews. Doesn't want us any of them to live.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: I relayed that on the other side. Copy that.
(END AUDIO FEED)
MARQUARDT: "All these Jews need to die" -- those were the words of Robert Bowers as he gunned down members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. We now know the FBI is leading the investigation. They are treating this and investigating this as a hate crime.
We also know that the suspect was wounded after he was shot by police. The authorities have not said whether or not he is saying anything to them yet. The shooter, Robert Bowers, appearing to have been acting on long held deep-seated anti-Semitic feelings, prejudices that he wrote about repeatedly online.
There will be a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting tonight in Pittsburgh.
I'm Alex Marquardt, in New York. Thanks so much for joining me.
Wolf Blitzer picks up coverage after this quick break.