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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting draws response from McHenry County Board chairman

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks spoke out Saturday after a deadly shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 people dead.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks spoke out Saturday after a deadly shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 people dead.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks spoke out Saturday after a deadly shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 people dead.

“My heart is broken for the worshippers and police officers wounded and killed in today’s attack,” said Franks, who is Jewish. “Several years ago, a hate-filled coward mindlessly slaughtered African-American worshippers in a Charleston church. Today, an anti-Semitic coward gunned down Jewish worshippers in a synagogue. We shouldn’t live in a nation where the act of thanking our creator requires armed guards.”

Franks’ statement came after a man opened fire during a baby-naming ceremony Saturday morning at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

An FBI official said the suspect, Robert Bowers, acted alone. Bob Jones, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Pittsburgh, said Bowers’ full motive still is not known.

Jones said the scene of Saturday’s shooting was “the most horrific crime scene I have seen” in 22 years with the FBI. Police said 11 people were killed and six people, including four police officers, were injured.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said police are keeping a close eye on synagogues in the city after the gun attack.

In a news release, Emanuel stressed that police are paying special attention to the synagogues only as a precaution.

As of Saturday afternoon, he said there had been “no threats to religious institutions in Chicago at this time.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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