Londoners will gather together Thursday evening in a show of support for those impacted by a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
A man opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue with four legally purchased guns on Saturday. The attack left 11 people dead and six others wounded, but also left fear in the hearts of local Jewish community members.
Joe Roberts is the executive director of Jewish London and says the organization is hearing concern from people across a variety of faith backgrounds.
“We believe in an inclusive and loving society, we want to be part of that change. We want to be helpful in the change so that’s why we’re having this vigil on Thursday night.”
The memorial and vigil will pay tribute to those affected by the shooting and will “bring people together to mourn this tragedy, to think about the future, and to work towards a common goal.”
Participants will hear from local Jewish community leaders, as well as leaders from other faith backgrounds.
Roberts admits it’s disheartening that these types of incidents force them to re-evaluate their security measures.
“At the end of the day, we can only be so safe,” he said.
“We have plans in place, all of our community services and community organizations know those plans, we have an alert system if something were to happen, we work very closely with London police to ensure that our facilities are secure. I’ve been in close touch with them since the incident occurred on Saturday.”
Roberts notes that there’s a particular concern for the children in the buildings. But they’ve been assured by national partners that there’s no other threat on their radar.
The suspect in the case, Robert Bowers, is expected to make a court appearance Thursday on a number of charges including murder, hate crimes, and obstructing in the practice of religion.
Everyone is welcome to attend the vigil. It takes place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the London Jewish Community Centre, at 536 Huron St.