Names of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims released


Authorities have released the names of the 11 people killed by a gunman during worship services in a Pittsburgh synagogue. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97, and included brothers and a husband and wife.

Authorities said the suspected gunman, Robert Bowers, made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people. Bowers has been arrested and is being treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital. Bowers, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns, told an officer "that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people," an affidavit said.

He was charged late Saturday with 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in what the leader of the Anti-Defamation League called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.

Bowers was also charged Saturday in a 29-count federal criminal complaint that included the charge of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs — a federal hate crime. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the charges "could lead to the death penalty."

Here's what we know about the victims:

Richard Gottfried, 65

Gottfried was preparing for a new chapter in his life. He ran a dental office with his wife and practice partner Margaret "Peg" Durachko Gottfried. The dentist, who often did charity work seeing patients who could not otherwise afford dental care, was preparing to retire in the next few months.

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66

Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz and his partner in his medical practice were seemingly destined to spend their professional lives together. He and Dr. Kenneth Ciesielka had been friends for more than 30 years, since they lived on the same floor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ciesielka was a few years behind Rabinowitz, but whether by fate or design, the two always ended up together. They went to the same college, the same medical school and even had the same residency at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) a few years apart.

"He is one of the finest people I've ever met. We've been in practice together for 30 years and friends longer than that," Ciesielka said. "His patients are going to miss him terribly. His family is going to miss him terribly and I am going to miss him. He was just one of the kindest, finest people."

Rabinowitz, a family practitioner at UPMC Shadyside, was remembered by UPMC as one of its "kindest physicians." The hospital said in a statement that "the UPMC family, in particular UPMC Shadyside, cannot even begin to express the sadness and grief we feel over the loss."

"Those of us who worked with him respected and admired his devotion to his work and faith. His loss is devastating," Tami Minnier, UPMC chief quality officer, wrote in a statement on Twitter.

Joyce Fienberg, 75

Joyce Fienberg and her late husband, Stephen, were intellectual power houses. Those who knew them say they were the kind of people who used that intellect to help others.

The 75-year-old spent most of her career at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center, retiring in 2008 from her job as a researcher looking at learning in the classroom and in museums. She worked on several projects, including studying the practices of highly effective teachers.

Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, who was Fienberg's research partner for decades, said she is devastated by the murder of her colleague and friend. "Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring, and profoundly thoughtful human being," she said.

Stephen, who died in 2016 after a battle with cancer, was a renowned professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University. His work was used in shaping national policies in forensic science, education and criminal justice.

The couple married in 1965 and had moved to Pittsburgh in the early 1980s. Joyce began her work at the center in 1983. The couple had two sons and several grandchildren.

Melvin Wax, 88

Melvin Wax was the first to arrive at New Light Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood — and the last to leave.

Fellow members of the congregation, which rented space in the lower level of the Tree of Life Synagogue, said Wax was a kind man and a pillar of the congregation, filling just about every role except cantor.

Myron Snider said Wax would stay late to tell jokes with him and said his friend was unfailingly generous. "When my daughters were younger, they would go to him, and he would help them with their federal income tax every year. Never charged them."

"He and I used to, at the end of services, try to tell a joke or two to each other. Most of the time they were clean jokes. Most of the time. I won't say all the time, but most of the time."

New Light moved to the Tree of Life building about a year ago, when the congregation of about 100 mostly older members could no longer afford its own space, said administrative assistant Marilyn Honigsberg. She said Wax, who lost his wife Sandra in 2016, was always there when services began at 9:45 a.m.

Snider said Wax was a pillar of the congregation, filling just about every role except cantor. Snider had just been released from a six-week hospital stay for pneumonia and was not at Saturday's services. "He called my wife to get my phone number in the hospital so he could talk to me," Snider said. "Just a sweet, sweet guy."

Officials have identified the other victims as Irving Younger, 69; Daniel Stein, 71; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Rose Mallinger, 97.

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