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Local Leaders, Organizations Comment On Mass Shootings In Ohio And Texas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- Local Pittsburgh officials have commented on the mass shootings this weekend in Ohio and Texas.

Officials in Ohio said 27 more people were wounded in a shooting in Dayton on Sunday morning around 1 a.m.

Authorities announced the shooter — Connor Betts — was wearing a bulletproof vest, mask and hearing protection and carrying at least 100 rounds opened fire on the streets of a popular entertainment district in Dayton.

One of the victims was Nicholas Cumer, a 2012 Washington High School graduate.

In the border town of El Paso, Texas, Patrick Crusius opened fire and left 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured on Saturday morning.

A joint statement was issued from Pittsburgh Congregations Tree of Life, New Light and Dor Hadash on the shootings, saying:

"All of us feel the pain and loss of loved ones in the senseless murders of innocent people across the nation. We are heartbroken, again, by this weekend's tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. It was approximately nine months ago that our community was targeted and affected forever by a hate crime.
Last October, these and other cities across America shared their love and support with the people of Pittsburgh as we lost members of our congregations and cared for others who were injured and survived.
We know first-hand the fear, anguish and healing process such an atrocity causes, and our hearts are with the afflicted families and those communities. We mourn with the families and friends of the victims and all of the survivors in El Paso and Dayton. This epidemic of senseless acts of violence, prejudice and terror must end. Shalom."


Cathy Samuels is with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, both shootings brought back the painful memories after 11 people were killed and a number of others injured after a shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

"It makes your feel heartsick," Samuels said.

Samuels told KDKA that the community center is reaching out to the grieving communities to offer them help.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's Cheif of Staff Daniel Gilman took to Twitter to show their support for Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who Gilman called "a good friend."

The tweet reads: "We will provide whatever support you need. We are in the fight together because enough is enough."

Mayor Peduto also tweeted about the incident, saying he woke up to another mass shooting and he called Whaley to offer support and advice Pittsburgh gained from the horrific experience of the Tree of Life massacre.

"Incredible that states & federal government continue to ignore this epidemic," Mayor Peduto's tweet read.

"Doing nothing will not solve the problem."

Senator Pat Toomey issued a statement, saying:

"The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton are the latest, horrific examples of the violent scourge that is gripping America. The perpetrators of these murders are cowards. We must do more to keep guns out of the hands of psychopaths. While no law will end mass shootings entirely, it's time for Congress to act to help keep our communities safer. We should start by passing bipartisan proposals such as my legislation with Senator Joe Manchin to expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales. I also agree with Senator Lindsey Graham that we should pass a bipartisan 'red flag' measure that enables families and law enforcement to obtain a court order to keep guns away from dangerous individuals."

Governor Tom Wolf also took to Twitter, saying that "gun violence is a crisis, unique to America, and it shouldn't be."

He then calls for action at all levels of government.

Senator Bob Casey issued a statement, saying:

"Enough. We don't have to live like this. Politicians who refuse to take action to reduce gun violence are complicit in this carnage. If we're going to truly confront this uniquely American problem, we have to speak uncomfortable truths. Over and over again, domestic terrorists use high powered, military-style assault weapons to kill our children and our families. There are a whole range of steps that must be taken. Congress's first priority must be passing universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines and banning military-style assault weapons, among other measures. Senate Majority Leader McConnell should immediately call the Senate back to Washington this week to debate and vote on universal background check legislation that was passed by the House in February.

"We also have to confront the white nationalist ideology that has inspired some of the terrorist attacks we have seen. On July 23, 2019, FBI Director Wray testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that "a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we've investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence." Over the last few years, we have seen a rise in hate crimes and we need to be honest about why. We have a President of the United States that uses white nationalist rhetoric and engages in racism. From its early days, the Trump Administration has sought to limit funding to groups dedicated to countering white extremism – going as far as revoking grants previously awarded under the Obama Administration and cutting off funding for the future.

"Today, President Trump should address the nation to condemn white nationalism and pledge an all of government effort to confront white nationalist terrorism. For years, Congressional Republicans have blocked action on measures to reduce gun violence and they must be held accountable. It's time for Senator McConnell and Congressional Republicans to confront gun violence or get out of the way."


Pittsburgh Public Saftey issued a statement, saying:

"Public Safety is deeply saddened by the senseless loss of life yesterday in El Paso, Texas and in nearby Dayton, Ohio. We are reminded yet again that the hatred that scarred Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018 can strike anywhere and at any time. These events are, sadly, a part of modern American society and a part of modern police work.

"As always, Public Safety will rely on our Intelligence Units and on our close cooperation with local, state and national law enforcement agencies to detect and deter any similar type of terrorist activity being planned here. While we cannot discuss the specifics of our preparations, Public Safety is constantly planning and training for any and all types of incidents, including mass casualty shooting events. As part of those efforts, and as a result of the recent shootings, we have begun a reevaluation of precautions and planning for mass gatherings in the City of Pittsburgh.

"Of course, we cannot do it alone. As always: If you see something, say something. The most effective defense involves a partnership between law enforcement and the communities we serve."


Bishop Edward Malesic issued a statement, saying:

The mass shooting tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, which have left so many people dead, were the result of hatred. We pray every day for God's Kingdom to come so violence will be overcome by peace. We also continue to work toward the day when wrong is overcome by charity. May the souls of the departed rest in peace and their families find consolation in God's love. May those who are wounded recover swiftly and completely. Let us pray, from the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."


Bishop David Zubik issued a statement, saying:

"Over and over and over, we grieve as a nation for the victims of mass shootings, praying for the souls of those who have died and for the long recovery of those with wounded bodies and broken hearts. Our prayers must also lead us to actions that will address the complex causes of these crimes. Among those steps are limiting civilian access to high capacity weapons and magazines, addressing online sites that encourage violence, improving access to mental health care for those who may be prone to violence and working to overcome the racisms that contributes to some of these crimes. The victims of these shootings will be in my prayers - as will those who hold the power to help prevent these massacres."


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