Police increasing security at Metro Detroit synagogues after Pittsburgh shooting

Police step up patrols in Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield

DETROIT – Several communities have increased security at local synagogues following the shooting in Pittsburgh.

More than 70,000 people in Metro Detroit make up the Jewish community. Police have stepped up patrols in Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield.

The shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh is being investigated as a hate crime. At least 11 people were killed, and several others were injured.

"This is a horrific incident. This is a terrible situation," said David Kurzmann, with the Jewish Community Relations Council in Bloomfield Township.

Kurzmann explained how Saturdays are a holy day for the community.

"It's really the nightmare scenario when you think of the Jewish community observing the Sabbath, which takes place every Friday night through Saturday night," Kurzmann said.

He said the Jewish community is often faced with bigotry.

"Anti-Semitism is often regarded as the oldest form of hatred, and unfortunately, we know quite well as a community that it has not gone away," Kurzmann said.

President Donald Trump denounced the shooting, calling it wicked. He also mentioned it could have been avoided.

"If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation," Trump said.

Kurzmann said it's not unusual to see some form of security at a synagogue, but he also emphasized how a synagogue is a place of worship.

"I doubt that most Americans would want our places of worship to be fortified and have to feel like they're not welcoming spaces," Kurzmann said.

Kurzmann is calling for all communities to unify after the Pittsburgh shooting.

About the Author:

Koco joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016. She was born and raised in Metro Detroit, attended Central Michigan University, and previously worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.