The chief medical examiner for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County on Sunday released the names of the 11 people killed by a gunman at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday in the deadliest attack against Jews in US history.
Dr. Karl Williams said the victims included a husband and wife, and two brothers. The youngest victim was 54 and the oldest, 97.
Williams named the victims as Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.
David and Cecil Rosenthal were brothers, and Bernice and Sylvan Simon were husband and wife.
Wax, a retired accountant in his late 80s, was always one of the first to arrive at synagogue and among the last to leave.
“He and I used to, at the end of services, try to tell a joke or two to each other,” said Myron Snider, a fellow member of New Light Congregation, which rented space in the basement of Tree of Life. “Most of the time they were clean jokes. Most of the time. I won’t say all the time. But most of the time.”
Williams said he was working with four rabbis from different denominations, and that the first bodies would be released later in the day.
“After difficult work by the medical examiner’s office, all 11 victims were positively identified and next of kin notifications took place,” said Robert Jones, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation.
Robert Gregory Bowers killed the eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a police team tracked him down and shot him.
Bowers told an officer while he was being treated for his injuries “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they (Jews) were committing genocide to his people,” an affidavit said.
Bowers was charged late Saturday with 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.
Daniel Stein, a grandfather who regularly led services for the New Light congregation at the Tree of Life synagogue, had already been named late Saturday as one of the victims of a deadly shooting rampage by an anti-Semitic gunman during morning services.
“He was attending services at the synagogue like he does every Saturday, and next thing you know there’s text going around about an active shooter in Squirrel Hill at Tree of Life synagogue and we couldn’t get a hold of him,” Stein’s nephew Steven Halle told local media. “The phone calls just kept going through and he wasn’t picking up.”
Stein, 71, was a retired plumbing supplies salesman and lived with his wife in Squirrel Hill. He had two children and a grandchild.
“This is going to be a horrible loss for the baby growing up without a grandfather,” said Halle. “We’re still trying to get everything together with my aunt and my cousins. It’s really hard right now.
“He was a great guy. Everybody loved him,” he said.
Stein was a former president of New Light, which was one of three groups using the Tree of Life synagogue on 10 a.m. Saturday morning when shooter Bowers came in with a rifle and three handguns, raining bullets on congregants.
Stein was the president of the congregation’s men’s club, according to the New Light website.
“He was very active and he did everything,” Halle said. “He was there every Saturday for services.”
Daniel Legar, who was slated to lead services for one of the congregations and was tasked with opening the doors, was also shot in the attack, though his brother said doctors were cautiously optimistic he would pull through.
Legar, 70, is married and has two sons. He is a nurse and chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and is listed in critical condition.