PITTSBURGH, PA – Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal seldom missed services at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. From the nearby ACHIEVA group home where they lived with others with intellectual disabilities, they faithfully made their way to the synagogue each Saturday.
“Cecil’s laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit,” said Chris Schopf, ACHIEVA vice president of residential supports.”
Together, they looked out for one another. They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around.”
Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, were among the 11 victims of Saturday’s massacre at the synagogue. A coroner’s report indicates that Cecil suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso; his younger brother had wounds to trunk and neck.
“They loved life,” Schopf said. “They loved their community.”
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The Allegheny County Office of Medical Examiner late Sunday said it had completed the autopsies of all 11 victims of the shooting at the synagogue. The bodies have been released to the families for funerals and burial.
They are the victims of a 46-year-old gunman, who allegedly spouted anti-Semitic remarks as he launched into a 20-minute killing spree inside the synagogue as congregation members gathered for Saturday services.
The dead also included:
“Dr. Gottfried and his wife have taken care of the health needs of many of our North Hills families for more than three decades at their practice on Center Avenue in West View,” North Hills superintendent Patrick Mannarino said. “They have been a fixture in the lives of those in our community.”
The district will have grief counselors available Monday for any students or staff who need them, Mannarino said.
Gottfried suffered rifle wounds of the trunk and left forearm. The others who died are:
Authorities say that the gunman, identified as Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, entered the synagogue at 9:50 a.m. Saturday, and began his massacre.
See Also: Pittsburgh Endured Previous Hate Crimes
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said about a dozen people had gathered in the main sanctuary when Bowers walked in and began shooting, reported the Associated Press. With seven of his congregants were killed, Myers told a crowd that had gathered for a vigil on Sunday that, “My holy place has been defiled.”
One witness, 76-year-old Barry Werber told the AP that he was in the synagogue’s basement Saturday when he heard a crash coming down the stairs. He and other were pushed into a closet. At one point, when there were no gunshots, Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, peeked out the and was shot.
The gunman then looked into the closet, but apparently did not see the others who were hiding there and walked away.
“There were three shots, and he falls back into the room where we were,” he said. “The gunman walks in.”
Apparently unable to see Werber and the other congregants in the darkness, Bowers walked back out.
Werber called the gunman “a maniac” and “a person who has no control of his baser instincts.”
The gunman’s spree ended in an exchange of gunfire with police. He was wounded, but survived. He later told police that “I just want to kill Jews” and that “all these Jews need to die,” according to the AP. He was hospitalized with gunshots he suffered from police.
The gunman is expected to appear on Monday afternoon in federal court accused of murder, hate crimes and other offenses.
Some information for this story came from the Associated Press.
Image 1: This photo shows some of Stars of David with names of those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in Saturday’s shooting, at a memorial outside the synagogue, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Image 2: A Pittsburgh Police officer walks past the Tree of Life Synagogue and a memorial of flowers and stars in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in remembrance of those killed and injured when a shooter opened fire during services Saturday at the synagogue. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Image 3: An overflow of people spill out of an interfaith community vigil, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, to honor those impacted by the previous day’s mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
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