'Squirrel Hill Will Not Be Afraid'

Councilman Corey O'Conner says they are shocked but will heal together

© Neil Strebig


PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Conner has lived in Squirrel Hill his entire life and said he and the entire community are still in shock after Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Wilkins Avenue that left 11 dead and six injured including four police officers.

“People going to just a quiet, peaceful service on a Saturday morning and this is what we end up with.”

O’Conner told the KDKA Radio Morning News his neighborhood a “melting pot” with people of different races, religions and backgrounds all living together and he says that is what makes the area great.

O’Conner’s mother is Jewish, his later father former Pittsburgh mayor Bob O’Conner was Irish Catholic and his brother is a priest.

“I’ve been to services both Catholic (and) Jewish my entire life and I think that makes it such a unique neighborhood to grow up in. You learn so much from everybody and when something like this happens you don’t really know what to do that at that moment, you just pray that you get through it,” said O’Conner. “The one thing I will say is as you’ve seen everybody in the streets and then the rally last night, Squirrel Hill will not be afraid. They’re not going to sit at home. They’re going to be out, they’re going to be helping each other out and we will get through it.”

O’Conner took time to honor the officers that put their lives on the line and other first responders that rushed to the scene to help.

“Officers put their lives on the line, knowing they’re running into active gunfire. You have to be a very special person to do that and we’re really proud of the work that all of those first responders did. They saved lives that Saturday and without their help.”

O’Conner added, holding back tears, the officers being able to keep suspect Robert Bowers in the Synagogue and not get onto the crowded streets, prevented even more innocent people from being killed.

A resolve crisis network hotline has been established if you need help by calling 1-888-7-YOUCAN.

University of Pittsburgh officials are directing students and staff to call 1-866-647-3432 for any assistance they may need.