What we know so far…
- At least 8 dead.
- Gunman stormed Tree of Life Synagogue at corner of Wilkens and Shady Avenues.
- Shooter was injured and cornered on third floor of synagogue
- Three cops have been wounded.
- Gunman preliminarily identified as Robert Bowers, 46 years old, white male.
- He reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” at police as he was being subdued.
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Update (1:30 pm ET): Gab.com has issued a full statement confirming the alleged attacker’s presence on their ‘uncensored’ alternative social media site:
Gab.com’s policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we a have zero tolerance policy for it. Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence. This has always been our policy. We are saddened and disgusted by the news of violence in Pittsburgh and are keeping the families and friends of all victims in our thoughts and prayers.
We refuse to be defined by the media’s narratives about Gab and our community. Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people. Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. From live streamed murders on Facebook, to threats of violence by bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. that went unaddressed by Twitter, and more. Criminals and criminal behavior exist on every social media platform.
Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue shooter. The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners. This person also had accounts on other social networks.
Gab took swift and proactive action to contact law enforcement immediately. We first backed up all user data from the account and then proceeded to suspend the account. We then contacted the FBI and made them aware of this account and the user data in our possession. We are ready and willing to work with law enforcement to see to it that justice is served.
Our user guidelines state:
Threats and Terrorism:
Users are prohibited from calling for the acts of violence against others, promoting or engaging in self-harm, and/or acts of cruelty, threatening language or behaviour that clearly, directly and incontrovertibly infringes on the safety of another user or individual(s). We may also report the user(s) to local and/or federal law enforcement, as per the advice of our legal counsel.
Our privacy agreement states:
Information Disclosed for Our Protection and the Protection of Others.
We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate: (i) to respond to claims, legal process (including subpoenas); (ii) to protect our property, rights and safety and the property, rights and safety of a third party or the public in general; and (iii) to stop any activity that we consider illegal or legally actionable activity.
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Update (1 pm ET): Live network coverage of Saturday’s shooting has concluded, but updates about the situation are still trickling in as police around the country react to the incident. In New York City, the NYPD is deploying additional officers to Jewish centers and synagogues throughout the city following an active shooter situation at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Police said there are “multiple casualties” after reports of an active shooter at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday morning. A suspect is now in custody. Heavy weapons teams, including the officers from the Critical Response Command and the Strategic Response Team, will patrol Jewish houses of worship across the city. The NYPD noted that there is no current threat, according to ABC.
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Update (12:15 pm ET): While police have yet to confirm the identity of the suspect, who was identified at the scene as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, images of a suspected social media account that may belong to Bowers have surfaced, and as one might imagine, they are replete with anti-semitic rhetoric.
While police haven’t confirmed the veracity of the account, the likelihood of there being two 46-year-old anti-semites from Pittsburgh named Robert Bowers seems like…a stretch.
Shortly before the incident began, a man believed to be the shooter posted “screw your optics, I’m going in” on his gab account, suggesting that he needed to act before a Jewish organization brought in more refugees…