PITTSBURGH,PA (WOIO) -A place of worship, peace, and grace, is now surrounded by yellow crime scene tape.
“It was terrifying. We were just so grateful to keep hearing sirens knowing that the police were there and more were on their way,” said Mollie.
Mollie tells Cleveland 19’s Lacey Crisp news of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting spread quickly to other synagogues in the area, as they went into lockdown.
“We were in services when this happened and it was just heart-wrenching. It was difficult not knowing exactly what was going on because we are observant, we don't use electronics on our Sabbath,” Mollie said.
Investigators said 11 people were killed inside the Synagogue, 6 others were injured including 4 police officers. Mollie and her children wanted to make sure first responders knew how much they appreciate their heroic efforts to prevent more violence.
“I wrote thank you for risking your life for saving my Jewish community,” said 9 year-old Mikey.
“Thank you for keeping the Jews in my neighborhood safe,” wrote 6 year-old Lilly.
Synagogue members, friends, family members, even complete strangers are leaving flowers here to remember the 11 who were shot and killed. Officials say the synagogue could be closed for up to a week as they gather evidence
“I could not believe how close to home this was, living a block away, hearing officers being shot at,” said temple neighbor Michael Aronson.
Aronson lives about a block away from the Tree of Life Synagogue, and heard the shots fired call.
“I put my kids in the basement and told them to stay in the basement knowing there was open gunfire,” Aronson explained.
Aronson belongs to another synagogue, but says he is devastated by the violence. He put up a sign in his window as a sign of support and solidarity.
“We as a Jewish community regularly come together as one, and this has hit home. Someone I went to school with, her father was one of the victims of this tragic incident,” Aronson said.
The community has held a memorial service at the University of Pittsburgh in honor of the victims on Sunday evening.