Retired accountant among shooting victims in Pittsburgh

Melvin Wax, an 88-year-old retired accountant, was one of the 11 people who were killed Saturday while attending services at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh when a crazed gunman opened fire on worshipers.

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Wax was reported to be leading religious services in the basement of the synagogue when a gunman burst in, shouting that he wanted to “kill Jews.” He was remembered as a regular attendee of Friday, Saturday and Sunday services at the temple, according to the Associated Press.

Wax was recalled as a kindly grandfather who was always ready to lead services at his synagogue. Other victims included two brothers, Carl and David Rosenthal, ages 59 and 54, respectively, and Rose Mallinger, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor. Four police officers and at least two other synagogue members were also injured in the attack. The gunman was shot by officers who rushed into the building to save lives.

On Monday, the gunman, Robert Bowers, 46, made his first court appearance. He allegedly posted a hate-filled message on the social media site Gab criticizing an organization called the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society before going on his shooting rampage. “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” The site was taken offline on Monday.

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