A gunman has entered a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, killing at least 11 people. Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Kraus said that the shooting took place on Saturday morning.
“There are fatalities,” CNN quoted Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
US President Donald Trump said, “Watching the events unfolding in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement on the scene. People in Squirrel Hill area should remain sheltered. Looks like multiple fatalities. Beware of active shooter. God Bless All!”
Officials have asked local residents in the neighbourhood to stay at home as the danger was not over yet.
A BBC reporter in Washington said that Saturday’s shooting came at a tense time in the US, after a week that has seen mail bombs sent to critics of Mr Trump ahead of crucial mid-term elections next month.
Officials held an impromptu press conference to announce that three police officers had been shot and there were fatalities. They added that the shooter had surrendered.
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey has tweeted, “Synagogues & places of worship are safe havens where communities come together to celebrate, pray, & reflect.
“The horrific events that transpired at Tree of Life Synagogue are heartbreaking. I’m monitoring the situation. My prayers are w/ the victims, their families, & friends.”
Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Jason Lando there were “multiple casualties.” Officers were dispatched to the scene after receiving reports of active gunfire at the synagogue, he said.
“It is imperative that the neighbors in the community surrounding the Tree of Life synagogue stay in their houses and shelter in place.. Do not come out of your home right now. It is not safe,” Lando added.
On Friday, police in Florida had arrested the man, who sent bombs to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, actor Robert de Niro and a number of other leading Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had said that the man arrested was one 56-year-old Florida resident Cesar Sayoc Jr.