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Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting may be worst in state history

Police rapid response team members respond to the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Until Saturday, the deadliest mass shootings in Western Pennsylvania history were Richard Baumhammers’ racist rampage that left five people dead and a sixth paralyzed in 2000, and an ambush at a Wilkinsburg cookout in 2016 that killed five people and an unborn child.

But the horrifying scene at a Squirrel Hill synagogue on Saturday morning may have set a ghastly new benchmark. And not just for Western Pennsylvania, but the entire commonwealth.

Police say Robert Bowers entered Tree of Life carrying an assault-style rifle and three handguns. He shot and killed 11 adults attending Shabbat services and a baby-naming ceremony before police shot and wounded him, leading to his surrender.

Channel 11 research indicates that death toll is likely the highest for a single civilian shooting event in the commonwealth’s history.

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In 2000, 10 people were shot, seven fatally, in a Philadelphia crack house. Four men were convicted in connection with the crime.

In 2014, Bradley William Stone killed his ex-wife and five of her family members in Montgomery County before committing suicide.

In 2006, Charles Carl Roberts killed five girls at an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County before killing himself.

In 1934, five people died when gunmen opened fire on a parade in Schuylkill County. Six people were convicted in connection with the massacre, but none confessed and no motive was ever officially established.