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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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OCTOBER 29, 2018

     Every house of worship should due what is possible to protect their parishioners. President Trump said that the suspect responsible for killing  and injuring multiple people and police officers at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday “should get the death penalty,” saying the suspect should “pay the ultimate price.” Speaking to reporters ahead of boarding Air Force One, Trump addressed the “devastating” shooting that occurred Saturday morning at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is predominantly Jewish.  Multiple fatalities were reported, and there were also injuries, including four police officers. "People who do this should get the death penalty,” Trump said. “I think they should stiffen up laws and I think they should very much bring the death penalty to anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people.” He added: “They should really suffer the ultimate price — pay the ultimate price. I’ve felt this way for a very long time. People disagree with me, and I can’t imagine why.”

     Later Saturday, the president ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at federal buildings in "solemn respect" for the synagogue shooting victims. Earlier this month, the president called for the death penalty to be brought against “criminals” who kill police officers. The president has issued calls for a stricter death penalty policy since the 2016 presidential campaign. The death penalty is legal in Pennsylvania, though current Gov. Tom Wolf halted the process when he took office in 2015. The last person executed under the death penalty in Pennsylvania was in 1999--the first since 1962.

     Trump was asked about tighter gun laws, which he discounted, saying they had “little to do with it.” “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation,” Trump said. “They didn’t have protection. They had a maniac walk in and they didn’t have any protection.” He added: "If there was an armed guard inside the temple they would have been able to stop him."

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