On The Scene At Pittsburgh Shooting
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
We're following a developing story this morning out of Pittsburgh - a shooting in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood there. There are reportedly multiple casualties at the Tree of Life Synagogue in that neighborhood. Three police officers have been shot. The suspect is in custody, according to officials - or at least a suspect. Lucy Perkins is on the scene. She's with Pittsburgh member station WESA. Lucy, thanks for being with us. What are you seeing? What do you know of the situation right now?
LUCY PERKINS, BYLINE: Hi Scott. I am in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which is a traditionally Jewish neighborhood. We are kind of standing at an intersection. It's pretty rainy and cold. And there are a lot of police cars, a lot of ambulances. And there are members of the community. Some are crying. Some are not really sure what's happening. And then, you know, you see people who haven't heard anything about this so far who are on a morning walk or a morning run, and then they see these police cars. And they're not quite sure what's happening.
SIMON: Do we know anything about the identity of the victims at this point?
PERKINS: We have not been briefed. Police have yet to do another update with us. The last I heard, which was about an hour ago, they had a suspect in custody. They were not commenting on victims, but there were fatalities.
SIMON: And there's still a warning for residents at the neighborhood to shelter in place, which would suggest that they are not yet altogether certain that it's just this one person they have in custody, I would assume.
PERKINS: Yeah, that's what I would assume, too. I mean, we don't have any information about that. But the police are asking members of the community to stay inside. This happened at a synagogue just a couple blocks away from where we are now. I've been told that, you know, usually on a Saturday morning like this, there are 50 or 60 people who might come to worship there. And so it's right in our neighborhood right here. So we're not quite sure what's going to happen next.
SIMON: This is a famous neighborhood in Pittsburgh and has been for some time, isn't it?
PERKINS: Yeah, it is. The Squirrel Hill neighborhood is traditionally a Jewish neighborhood here. And I was told by a member of the community who's the head of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh that over 50 percent of Jewish residents live here - live in this concentrated neighborhood. It's a beautiful neighborhood - big brick houses. A Jewish Community Center's a couple blocks away. And so this is a really important part of the Jewish community in this part of Pennsylvania.
SIMON: And we will tell our listeners, we are aware of the fact that there are multiple numbers that are being reported on various social media platforms - and in fact, some social media platforms who purport to know the identity of the person who is in custody. We do not report that until we can certify that as a fact. And so Lucy, I'm sure you're aware of that, but officials have not confirmed that identity to you, have they?
PERKINS: Correct. That's true.
SIMON: All right. I know you and other members of the media are going to be on the scene. It must be hard to gain access, but I gather that police and perhaps the mayor will be having a press conference, right?
PERKINS: Yes, there are representatives from the police department here. Governor Wolf is actually also here. And I'm told that the mayor is here, obviously, but I'm told that other politicians and lawmakers from the area are making their way here to offer as much help and support as possible.
SIMON: Lucy Perkins of one of our member stations, WESA in Pittsburgh. Thanks so much for being with us, Lucy. We will follow the situation throughout the day.
PERKINS: Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.