Officials are lauding the selfless actions of four Pittsburgh police officers who were injured Saturday morning responding to an anti-Semitic attack inside a synagogue that left 11 people dead and two civilians wounded.
Authorities have yet to release the names of the injured officers — three of whom were shot — but Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert praised their efforts during a news conference Sunday morning.
“They ran into danger, they ran into gunfire to help others,” Schubert said. “Some of that is training, some of that is experience, but it’s their inner core that makes them want to help others, that want to save lives, and they did that.”
One of the injured officers was released from the hospital Saturday evening, Schubert said, and a second officer may be sent home on Sunday.
“We have a strong relationship with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and I just want to tell them — we grieve with you, we support you and we are here for you and will continue to work with you,” Schubert said. “This is a tragic thing for everybody. But this is something that makes Pittsburgh strong, that we work together, so we are going to continue to do that.”
Schubert said the other two injured officers still require medical attention, and he gave thanks for the work of the hospital staff treating them.
“We are going to get through this and we are going to continue on and show what Pittsburgh is made of,” he said.
Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells PEOPLE that one of the two officers still being treated is in critical condition.
The officer “had multiple extremity wounds,” Yealy explains.
The two civilians injured were a 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman. The man was in intensive care along with the wounded officer, with multiple wounds to his torso, while the woman was treated for “soft tissue injuries,” Yealy says.
Police have identified Robert Bowers as the suspected gunman at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
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The shooting began about 9:50 a.m. Saturday, according to prosecutors, who have said Bowers was allegedly armed with three handguns and an assault rifle.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady told reporters on Sunday that during the rampage, Bowers allegedly talked about genocide and wanting to kill Jewish people.
Bowers has been charged with 29 federal crimes, most of which carry a maximum penalty of death, Brady said: He faces 11 counts of murdering victims exercising their religious beliefs and 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder as well as seven additional charges in connection with his alleged attack on the responding police officers at the scene.
Bowers will make his first court appearance on Monday afternoon, according to authorities.
Investigators have described a complicated crime scene marred by atrocity and said that it will likely take up to another week to process everything at the synagogue.
“This is the most horrific crime scene I have seen in 22 years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” said Bob Jones, the FBI special agent in charge in Pittsburgh, said Saturday. “Members of the Tree of Life synagogue — a place of worship — were brutally murdered by a gunman simply because of their faith.”
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Pittsburgh’s public safety director, Wendell Hissrich, joined others praising first responders and urged locals to share their own gratitude where they could.
“If you see a first responder — whether it be a police officer, paramedic or fire fighter — go up to them and say thank you for their work that they have done,” he said. “The last 24 hours [have] been very stressful for them and a word of thanks would go a long way.”
• With reporting by CHRISTINE PELISEK