Four police officers were among the wounded in the attack on a synagogue in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill as they answered Saturday’s 911 call that became the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Though authorities have not formally released the names of the injured officers, they said two city policemen and two SWAT team officers were among the six people wounded at the Tree of Life Synagogue, whose members rented space to two other Jewish congregations as well as having their own worship services.
The two SWAT officers were hit multiple times, including one critically wounded, as they worked to take accused shooter Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, into custody. “We’re under fire! We’re under fire! He’s got an automatic weapon and firing at us from the synagogue,” according to several radio dispatches from officers that gave a raw look at the chaotic and harrowing mass shooting. “Every unit in the city needs to get here now!”
Officers shepherded the wounded survivors to safety even as the gunfire continued with them as the targets, according to emergency dispatches and police reports. One of the officers suffered a severed artery, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. “It could’ve been much worse, but his partner placed a tourniquet” on him, the mayor said.
After visiting with one of the injured officers, Peduto said that the man was in good spirits. “They’re all heroes,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Shubert said. “Who knows what would’ve happened if he got out in the streets.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also spent time with the wounded officers.