Roanoke mayor releases statement after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

'Antisemitism, hatred, and racism have no place in our America'


ROANOKE, Va. – After Saturday's deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea released a statement on Monday:

Gun violence has again come to our Country; this time the attack was especially heinous as the attacker stormed a house of worship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday. Eleven worshipers were senselessly killed while attending Jewish services at Tree of Life synagogue. Several more persons were injured, including four courageous police officers who ran toward the attack and no doubt their bravery saved many. The alleged attacker apparently espoused antisemitism and law enforcement officials are investigating this attack as a hate crime.

Antisemitism, hatred, and racism have no place in our America. An attack against any people of faith is an attack on all Americans. While our hearts cry with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh, thoughts and prayers cannot be our response. This is a dark and disquieting time in our Nation. In the last week, several political leaders were the subject of domestic terrorism, two African Americans were attacked and killed in Louisville, Kentucky solely based on their race. And now, eleven fellow Americans were murdered solely because they were worshiping their God.  Enough is enough!

We must come together now and recognize that we are bound together because of our common humanity. We must reject any environment in which hatred breeds fear and rationalizes senseless attacks on individuals solely because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Our response must be measured, but our resolve must be unwavering; we are committed to the ideals of our Nation and violence has no place in America.

Today, our hearts are heavy in mourning for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. But for too long, we have shed tears and anger and frustration over shootings throughout America, whether the attack happens at an elementary school, high school, or college; a nightclub in Orlando or a country concert in Las Vegas, or a Christian church in Texas, a Bible study class in Charleston, or now a synagogue in Pittsburgh; we must say NO MORE to gun violence and we reaffirm that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

We stand with Pittsburgh today. Let us resolve to work to end violence in our society through love and respect. Let us, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., become the light that rids the darkness. Through this commitment to each other, we can create a lasting legacy for all victims of violence.

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