‘We are pinned down’: Transcript reveals police response to synagogue shooting
Police in Pittsburgh rushed to the scene of a mass shooting that killed 11 people and injured at least six others Saturday morning.
The shooter was injured during an exchange of gunfire with police at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue, then taken into custody. He has been identified as Robert Bowers.
Two officers and two SWAT team members were injured in the shootout.
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said officials received reports of the active shooter at 9:54 a.m. ET.
Officers were dispatched to the synagogue, located at 5898 Wilkins Avenue, at 9:55 a.m.
Audio of communications between the dispatcher and police illustrate how quickly police mobilized and their response during the shootout.
Police can be heard calling for backup and for medics, even while taking fire.
“Hold the perimeter, we’re under fire,” an officer can be heard saying. “We’re under fire. He’s got an automatic weapon, he’s firing at us from the synagogue.”
One officer can be heard swearing as another reports that an officer had been shot.
The gunman was armed with an assault-style rifle and at least three handguns, police said.
Local TV news footage showed police near the synagogue holding rifles and wearing helmets and other tactical gear.
“Every available unit in the city needs to get here now,” another officer says in the recording. “All units hold the perimeter. We’re taking on AK-47 fire from out the front of the synagogue.”
Paramedics were also stationed near the synagogue.
Hissrich fought back tears during a live news conference, telling reporters that he had been to the scenes of plane crashes and other mass fatalities but that the carnage inside the synagogue was “one of the worst” scenes he had witnessed.
WATCH: Pittsburgh Public Safety Director says the ‘scene is very bad inside’ during emotional statement about Tree of Life synagogue
KDKA television cited police sources in reporting that Bowers walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews must die.”
Bowers had made many anti-Semitic posts online, including one early on Saturday. In another, he slammed President Donald Trump for doing nothing to stop an “infestation” of the United States by Jews.
— with files from Global News’ Rahul Kalvapalle
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