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Interfaith Vigil In Pack Square Mourns Squirrel Hill Synagogue Shooting Victims

An interfaith vigil Sunday afternoon filled the lower portion of Pack Square in downtown Asheville.  It was held to honor the victims of Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Music, prayers, and poems filled the air at the vigil barely 24 hours after a gunman killed 11 people attending services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  Among those who spoke was Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer, who said the enormity of what happened struck her Sunday morning when she dropped her son off at their temple and saw the off duty Asheville police officers regularly hired to do security there.  “This new normal we live in is not okay,” she told those gathered.

Speakers also took great care to honor the victims of another mass shooting just days earlier in Kentucky, where two African-Americans were killed in a Louisville grocery store parking lot.  The shooter in that case according to authorities had tried to break into a predominantly black church but could not enter just minutes before he drove to the store where the shooting occurred. 

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.