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Funerals Begin For Those Killed In Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing, unintelligible).

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The families of those killed inside Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue began laying their loved ones to rest today. The funeral services of Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, Daniel Stein and the brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal began a formal period of mourning for the city's Jewish community. Meanwhile, President Trump also visited Pittsburgh despite objections from the city's mayor and some Jewish leaders. NPR's Brian Mann is outside the Tree of Life synagogue where the killings took place on Saturday. Hi, Brian.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about what the president did during this visit.

MANN: Well, the president and the first lady and also Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were right here at the synagogue. It's quiet now, just people paying respects. There are candles lit by the memorial here. While the president and first lady were here, they placed white flowers and stones on each of the memorials for the 11 people who died. They also lit candles inside during their visit.

SHAPIRO: After visiting the synagogue, the president's motorcade went to the hospital that treated survivors of the attack. And I understand two of the police officers injured in that attack are still being treated there. Tell us about what happened at the hospital.

MANN: Right. The president met with all of the six officers wounded while responding to this attack. Daniel Mead was shot in the hand. Timothy Matson suffered multiple gunshot wounds. They're still being cared for there. He met - the president met with also the doctors and nurses who helped care for the victims and members of their families. And I should say that he also signed baseballs and just kind of chatted with some of the officers that were there. And during the visit, he was accompanied by Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer.

SHAPIRO: This visit has been controversial. Pittsburgh's mayor was invited to meet with the president and declined. What have people there told you?

MANN: Yeah, this is a really complicated time for people in this city. There has been a real debate here about whether the president is the right figure to be involved in this period of mourning. I spoke earlier today with Angela Farrel, who attended one of the funerals in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. And she said she thinks Mayor Bill Peduto should have met with the president.

ANGELA FARREL: I don't think it's a good thing that the mayor isn't here supporting the president. I think that the mayor should be here shaking the president's hand.

MANN: And I should say that after the president departed, I went to one of the protests here and spoke with Nathan Siegal (ph). He was marching, and he says he grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood attending the Tree of Life synagogue.

NATHAN SIEGEL: It's my home, and it's really terrifying. And I'm sickened that Trump would have the audacity to appear here when he has enabled this violence. It's constantly fanning the flames of hate. He does not speak for me, and I don't want him in my community.

MANN: So you can hear, Ari, emotions are really high. I do want to say that protesters really made a show of thanking police and other first responders who helped after this attack. So even as they were criticizing the president, a lot of people here were calling for unity and healing.

SHAPIRO: And just briefly, there were four funerals today, seven more to come in the days ahead. I know you talked with some people attending those services. What did you hear from them?

MANN: You know, it's interesting. There's a lot of sadness, a lot of anger and horror at what happened here. But people are talking about the need for action going forward, people talking about voting. Obviously, the midterm elections are coming up. They're talking about a need for new civility in American politics, hoping that some kind of lessons have been learned in this horrible, horrible time.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Brian Mann speaking with us from outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Thanks, Brian.

MANN: Thank you.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In a previous version of the audio on this webpage, and in the version that was broadcast, we mistakenly said that Nathan Siegel attended the Tree of Life synagogue when he was growing up. In fact, what he told us is that he grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. He did not say he attended the synagogue.] Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: October 31, 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT
In a previous version of the audio on this webpage, and in the version that was broadcast, we mistakenly said that Nathan Siegel attended the Tree of Life synagogue when he was growing up. In fact, what he told us is that he grew up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. He did not say he attended the synagogue.

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