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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As horrific as the situation was at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday morning, it could have been worse if not for the brave actions of police officers who responded to the scene.
Officer rushed to the Tree of Life Synagogue and quickly grabbed their gear. Some urged civilians and bystanders to leave the area, but others ran right toward the gunfire.
“By the time I got there, they were already trying to extract people and watching those officers run into the danger to remove people and get them to safety was unbelievable,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said.
Determined to stop the shooter, SWAT team members charged in and cornered Robert Bowers on the third floor, eventually taking him into custody.
“The bravery that was exhibited by the SWAT teams of Pittsburgh Police and the Allegheny County Police, they ran toward gunfire to keep people safe,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.
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Four officers were wounded in that gunfire, two of the critically.
“I can’t say enough about the actions of Pittsburgh Police, the Pittsburgh Police SWAT team and the Allegheny County Police,” Bob Jones, FBI Special Agent in Charge, said. “Had it not been for the quick and heroic response, this would have been much worse.”
Hardest day ever as a trauma surgeon – but the heroism of @PghPolice who ran into the fight to save lives was the most motivating force imaginable. Beneath the sadness I have so much pride for our heroes @PghPublicSafety. @CityPGH @billpeduto @PghPoliceChief #TreeOfLifeSynagogue pic.twitter.com/l0YUdHjvGW
— Matthew D. Neal, MD (@macky_neal) October 27, 2018
“Our SWAT officers and SWAT teams from around the region who were there, who went into that active shooting and were able to apprehend that actor, I can’t speak more for the courage that they have,” Schubert said.
What underscores their bravery even more is that police tell us Bowers was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns.