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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the city’s top official, Mayor Bill Peduto is used to promoting the city of Pittsburgh.
But Saturday, he is undertaking a very different role as he meets with the victims and families of those in grief.
“Just having a mass homicide in the city is tragic,” Peduto told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “Having it happen targeted against one group of people because of the religion they practice is evil.”
With so many innocent lives taken, Peduto became comforter-in-chief for a grieving city.
Of the four injured police officers, one has been released.
As for the others, says Peduto, “There may be the need for additional surgery with two of them. I visited one of the officers this evening. I’ll visit the other two tomorrow morning, and I’ll just let them know that this entire city is thankful and with them in whatever their family may need.”
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Besides the injured police, there are our other neighbors who died.
“To the Jewish community, it will be devastating,” Peduto said.
The mayor says the names of the deceased will be known to many when released on Sunday, especially in Squirrel Hill.
“When that full list is given, this will hit all over again,” Peduto said.
And the pain is just beginning.
Delano: “Do you know some of the victims?”
Peduto: “I do.”
Delano: “It’s got to be tough for you, too, mayor.”
Peduto: “It’s been tough. There’s no doubt about it. Not nearly as tough as it will be for their families.”
“I stopped at the JCC to be with the families, and I got to tell you, it rips your heart out,” Peduto said. “To be able to sit there with somebody who’s around your age trying to call his mother, and nobody picking up the cell phone and not knowing the answer of whether she’s still here.”
Many but not all of the deceased, sources say, are older Pittsburghers.
“These are Pittsburgh names, Pittsburgh families, people who have given quite a bit to this city, and particularly to the Jewish community of Pittsburgh,” Peduto said.
The mayor got emotional as he recalled meeting with families who will never see their loved ones again.
That is likely to continue over the next two days, as traditional Jewish burials get underway and families sit shiva or receive friends and family at home for the next week.
A painful time no one ever expected.