Pittsburgh shooting: Victims named as relatives mourn lives cut short by synagogue attack

The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97

Andrew Buncombe
Washington DC
Sunday 28 October 2018 22:03 GMT
Names of Pittsburgh shooting victims released

Officials in Pittsburgh have revealed the identifies of those killed when a gunman entered a synagogue on Saturday morning and opened fire after allegedly yelling antisemitic abuse.

The suspected shooter, Robert Bowers, 46, has been charged with killing eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life synagogue during worship services. Six other people were injured. Armed officers raced to the scene and confronted the suspect, who was shot and injured, and taken into custody.

The names of the victims, ranging in age from 54 to 97, were read out at a press conference on Sunday morning, where the city’s mayor, Bill Peduto called the attack the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history”. The suspect is due to make his first appearance in court on Monday. On Sunday evening, the city hosted an interfaith vigil.

The victims included professors and accountants, dentists and doctors. All lived in or close to the city’s Squirrel Hill Neighbourhood. Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light Congregation, said: “The loss is incalculable.”

The eleven were named as:

Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland:

Ms Fienberg, who was a widow, reportedly spent much of her career at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Centre, retiring in 2008 from her job as a researcher looking at learning in the classroom and in museums.

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

Mr Gottfried, who ran a dental office with this wife. Peg Durachko, was described as devoted member of the New Light Congregation, going to the synagogue every Saturday morning without fail, by Stephen Cohen, the co-president of New Light.


Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill

Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life, said when he heard about the shooting, among those he first worried about was Ms Mallinger.

“She was a synagogue-goer, and not everybody is,” Mr Diamond told the Washington Post. ‘She’s gone to the synagogue for a lifetime, no matter how many people are there.”

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood

Mr Rabinowitz worked as a doctor. Kenneth Ciesielka, his partner in their medical practice, said they had been friends for more than 30 years.

“He is one of the finest people I’ve ever met. We’ve been in practice together for 30 years and friends longer than that,” Mr Ciesielka told the AP. “His patients are going to miss him terribly. His family is going to miss him terribly and I am going to miss him. He was just one of the kindest, finest people.”

Brothers Cecil, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill

ACHIEVA, a group that works with people with disabilities, said of the two brothers who shared an apartment in Squirrel Hill: “Cecil and David had a love for life and for those around them. As long-standing recipients of our residential and employment services, they were as much a part of our family as they were their beloved neighbourhood.”

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Married couple Bernice, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 87, of Wilkinsburg

The couple had married at the ceremony during a candlelight ceremony in 1956 according to local media.

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill

Mr Stein was said to be a leading member of the Jewish community in the city and his wife, Sharyn, were “very passionate about the community and Israel”.

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill

Mr Wax was described a “sweet, sweet guy”, according to friends. The Associated Press said he was usually the first to arrive for services, and the last to leave. “He was such a kind, kind person,” said Myron Snider.

Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington

“He was the most wonderful dad and grandpa,” Tina Prizner, who lived next to Mr Younger for several years, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He talked about his daughter and his grandson, always, and he never had an unkind word to say about anybody.”

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