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Rabbi of Pittsburgh synagogue opens up about moment gunman opened fire

Posted: 12:16 PM, Oct 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-29 19:16:21Z

A memorial outside a Pittsburgh synagogue continues to grow, after the deadliest attack against Jews in U.S. history.

The rabbi of the Pittsburgh synagogue opens up Monday about the moments the gunman started shooting.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers tried to save members of his Tree of Life congregation, when the gunman opened fire.

“At that time, I instructed my congregants to drop to the floor, do not utter a sound, and don't move,” Rabbi Myers recalls. “Our pews are thick hulled oak, and I thought perhaps there's some protection there.”

The rabbi says he helped a group of people in the front of congregation escape, but he says he felt helpless for those trapped in the back.

“I could hear the gunfire getting louder,” he says. “It was no longer safe for me to be there, and I had to leave them. One of the eight was shot and she's survived her wounds. The other seven of my congregants were gunned down in my sanctuary. There was nothing I could do.”

The gunman, identified as Robert Bowers, murdered 11 people. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97.

Six others, including four police officers, were also injured.

According to investigators, right after the shooting, the suspect told authorities he just wanted to kill Jews.

Federal prosecutors say they plan to pursue the death penalty against the accused gunman.