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Local men impacted by Tree of Life shooting in Washington D.C. for State of the Union

WASHINGTON — The annual State of the Union address featured the city of Pittsburgh, the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue and the heroic response to it.

Pittsburgh SWAT Officer Timothy Matson received one of the biggest rounds of applause of the evening.

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He was shot several times and is still undergoing surgeries to recover.

Holocaust, and Tree of Life survivor, Judah Samet, was also honored. He was late to service on Oct. 27, arriving just as the gunman opened fire.


The moments with Pittsburgh in the spotlight had a different feel than much of the speech to a divided Congress.

President Trump spoke for almost 90 minutes and saved Pittsburgh for last. He honored a man he called a "hero" and "survivor."

"SWAT Officer Timothy Matson raced into the gunfire and was shot seven times chasing down the killer," President Trump said. "Officer Matson: we are forever grateful for your courage in the face of evil."

This is the first time we have seen Officer Matson in public, as the Pittsburgh police officer has undergone 12 surgeries since the shooting. But he still made the trip to Washington, representing all of the first responders who risked their lives during the shooting.

Congress sings Happy Birthday to Tree of Life shooting survivor

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDAH: Congress sang to the Holocaust survivor, who also arrived at Tree of Life Synagogue moments after a gunman opened fire last fall. He turned 81-years-old today.

Posted by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh on Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Just feet away from Matson in the President's Box was Tree of Life member Judah Samet, who is best described as a survivor.

"He arrived at the synagogue as the massacre began. But not only did Judah narrowly escape death last fall, more than seven decades ago, he narrowly survived the Nazi concentration camps," President Trump said.

The moment comes on Samet's 81st birthday. Earlier Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with Channel 11, he called it an honor to be recognized during the State of the Union address.

"I've listened to every State of the Union address for over 50 years, since the very start. To me, this place is holy," Samet said.