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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Squirrel Hill residents are in shock and mourning after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning.
“We could hear the shots and we were standing in our living room and we could just hear, like, rapid fire,” said Cody Murphy, neighbor.
Murphy lives just a few feet away from the synagogue.
“We saw some guy running down the street really fast and the guy was like ‘sir you need to call 911 right now there’s been a shooting at the synagogue’ so we called 911,” said Murphy.
Murphy is just one of many who called 911 around 10 a.m. Saturday.
“I rushed home as quickly as I could not knowing if the shooter is on the loose or not. It’s impossible to describe how terrifying that is,” said Amanda Godley, a Squirrel Hill resident.
Godley said she’s at a loss for what to say to her children.
“And then you realize you can’t really protect your kids from this especially when it’s so easy to get guns and hate crimes are on the rise,” Godley said.
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Karen Coburn said she was walking towards the synagogue and was running late.
“I would have been there in five minutes, maybe, because when I left and was walking, I don’t even think there was a police car at Northumberland and Murray,” Coburn said.
KDKA talked with Rabbi Chuck Diamond about security inside the Tree of Life Synagogue.
“During the week the doors are locked. On Shabbat, it’s a little bit more of a chore because you don’t necessarily have anybody in the office to let people in,” Rabbi Diamond said. “We can’t let that happen. We have to take all precautions at all times, unfortunately.”
He said his phone started ringing nonstop just after 10 a.m.
“I cried. I heard about it and I thought about it and I thought about the people who I knew would be there,” he said. “And a lot of them, boy you should see, they up in their cars and you’re, like, shuttering that they’re still driving, and they shuffle in with their walkers and it was terrifying to me when I first got the call. And then I started getting calls right after that, and I’m… I’m just torn apart.”