Southland law enforcement agencies have added extra patrols at houses of worship and other religious institutions following a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 people dead and the wounded shooter in custody.
“We are monitoring the situation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania very closely and communicating with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners, LAPD officials tweeted. “Right now there is no apparent connection to Los Angeles.”
“However, out of an abundance of caution you will see extra patrols around houses of worship. Remember, if you see something…say something.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore later tweeted: “We are closely monitoring the horrific attack in Pennsylvania at a #Pittsburgh synagogue this morning and are proactively working to ensure places of worship throughout L.A. are safe. The thoughts and prayers of the LAPD are with all who have been tragically affected.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell posted this tweet:
“We and our regional partners at the Joint Regional Intel Center are monitoring Pittsburgh #synagogueshooting very closely. #LASD captains are briefed, planning extra patrols and reaching out to our faith communities. Pls follow @LASDHQ for updates.”
Pasadena Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said there will be extra patrols at that city’s lone synagogue and that she has reached out to the synagogue’s rabbi, leaving him with her contact information.
Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said the department is in the process of making periodic checks at their city’s synagogues and that the department has reached out to area rabbis.
“We’re going to make sure that we’re (the police department) available to the congregations,” Rodriguez said.
Chris Togneri, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh police department, said the suspect, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds, was in custody. He was identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers. He is believed to have made anti-Jewish comments on social media and during the shooting, which unfolded on a Shabbat morning at the Tree of Life synagogue.
In addition to the 11 people who were killed, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said six others were injured, four of whom were police officers.
Los Angeles’ Simon Wiesenthal Center also addressed the tragedy.
“We are sickened by this horrific attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s historic Jewish neighborhood. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the dead and injured as well as the rest of the congregation and Jewish community,” said a joint statement issued Saturday night from Austria, Vienna, by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper. Hier is the center’s dean and founder and Abraham is an associate dean.
“We urge President Trump to immediately convene an emergency meeting of religious leaders to help stop the slide to extremism in American Society,” the statement continued.
The L.A.-area Interfaith Solidarity Network reminded local residents of the group’s previously planned Interfaith Solidarity March from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday along a mile-long stretch beginning at Temple Aliyah, 6025 Valley Circle Blvd. in Woodland Hills, proceeding to Woodland Hills Presbyterian Church at 5751 Platt Ave., and ending at Ezzi Masjid Mosque at 5701 Platt Ave.
“The ISN condemns the shooting as a xenophobic act of violence stemming from ongoing national divisive rhetoric and policies, and stands in solidarity with the victims of this heinous and racist act. The ISN also calls on all faith-based leaders across the country to step up efforts toward building bridges of tolerance, peace and unity,” the ISN said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also expressed solidarity with the Jewish community in a statement issued from the group’s Anaheim office.
“We condemn this heinous and cowardly attack on a house of worship, offer heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed or injured and express our solidarity with the Jewish community during this time of shock and grief,” CAIR-Pittsburgh Program Director Zohra Lasania said.