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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — One of the victims in the deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh over the weekend has ties to Philadelphia.
Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, who died in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, got his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
“We are moved by the outpouring of support and tributes to Dr. Rabinowitz as an exceptionally talented and caring physician. These stories capture the positive impact that Dr. Rabinowitz has had on his patients and community and illuminate the lasting legacy of his life and work. The Perelman School of Medicine joins Dr. Rabinowitz’s family, his patients, and his community in mourning his untimely and tragic death,” said Dr. J. Larry Jameson, the dean of the Perelman School of Medicine at UPenn.
“It became very personal because I knew Jerry,” said Robert Goodman.
Goodman is one of more than a hundred who came to M’kor Shalom synagogue in Cherry Hill Monday night for a vigil. He grew up with Rabinowitz.
“Jerry and I went to grammar school together so we were childhood friends and we went for a couple of years to high school together,” Goodman said.
The pain from Pittsburgh radiates in Cherry Hill where there’s a significant Jewish population.
“I was here on Saturday picking up my son who was in Hebrew school at the exact same time this was happening in Pittsburgh and it could have been here,” said Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.
And that worries congregants.
“It’s frightening. Like what’s happening. How could this be happening in 2018?” said Charla Feldscher.
Every year during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, synagogues like M’kor Shalom have security. But a Saturday in October begs the question should it become year round?
“Unfortunately this may be something we’re gonna have to do. I do not support the idea of having armed guards standing inside the synagogues waiting in the event that someone comes in,” said Goodman.
Authorities say Robert Gregory Bowers shot and killed 11 people at the synagogue on Saturday.
He was charged in a 29-count federal criminal complaint that included counts of obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death — a hate crime — and using a gun to commit murder.
Bowers was also charged under state law with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation.
Just minutes before the synagogue attack, Bowers apparently took to social media to rage against HIAS, a Jewish organization that resettles refugees under contract with the U.S. government.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” he is believed to have written on Gab.com, a social media site favored by right-wing extremists. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Bowers shot his victims with an AR-15, used in many of the nation’s mass shootings, and three handguns, all of which he owned legally and had a license to carry, according to a law enforcement official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)