In wake of synagogue attack, Pittsburgh mayor worries Trump’s visit will upstage funerals

President Trump and the first lady will head to Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon to offer support for a city trying to heal from the deadly synagogue shooting that claimed 11 lives. But three days after the violence, emotions in the tight-knit community are still raw and some – including Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto – fear a visit from the president is too soon.

The rabbi of the Tree of Life Congregation says the president is “always welcome,” but one left-leaning Jewish group wants Mr. Trump to stay away until he denounces white nationalism. Funerals will begin Tuesday for the victims, including Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz and brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal.

“The last thing I want to see is – while these families are burying those that they lost – that there are protests and streets being closed and other things that are taking away from the most important thing that we can do, which is honoring the dead,” Peduto said.

Gunman Robert Bowers made his first court appearance on Monday. He seemed unemotional, but alert and responsive, despite injuries from being shot during his rampage. As CBS News’ David Begnaud is learning from first responders, the attack that could’ve been much worse.

Bowers appeared in a wheelchair during his roughly 10-minute court appearance on Monday. The 46-year-old said little except “yes” when the judge asked if he understood the charges against him – including federal hate crimes – for which he could face the death penalty. 

SWAT teams encountered Bowers in front of the synagogue as he was attempting to flee.

Dr. Keith Murray, medical director for the Pittsburgh SWAT team, was with tactical officers as they entered the building and found five of Bowers’ victims in the main sanctuary, one of whom was in shock but still alive.

“She was holding onto one of her friends who was deceased…and then we quickly evacuated her so that we could continue on through the structure,” Murray said.

Murray raced with his team upstairs where the gunman was barricaded and an officer was down.

“He was shot multiple places. So it looks like he took one round to the head – it actually went through his helmet,” Murray said. “He was going to die if we were not there.”

Bowers regularly posted anti-Semitic threats, memes and conspiracy theories on a social network often associated with conspiracy theorists and extremists — including an ominous warning posted just hours before the attack.

Saturday’s shooting is considered the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, and a massacre that highlights the rise of hate crimes across the country.

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