As news of the slaying on Saturday of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh spread worldwide, the name of the first victim was released, 71-year-old Dan Stein.
Stein, a father and grandfather who regularly served as chazzan (cantor and prayer leader) for a congregation that met at Tree of Life, was the first name released late Saturday night to an American Jewish community reeling with shock and grief.
The remainder of the names—eight male and three female—are expected to be revealed at a press conference at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Stein’s nephew, Steven Halle, told local media that when a text began to circulate about a shooter at the synagogue, located in the heavily Jewish Squirrel Hill section of the city, the family began placing calls to Stein, knowing he attended prayer services there every Saturday. Stein, a retired plumbing supplies salesman, did not pick up.
Stein was formerly the president of New Light, one of three congregations that held services at Tree of Life synagogue at 10 a.m.
The shooter was identified as Robert Bowers, 46, who entered the religious facility and opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He also possessed multiple handguns.
Bowers attacked a synagogue full of worshippers declaring “all Jews must die.”
While he had no criminal record, he recently posted to social media that “Trump is surrounded by kikes,” and blamed Jews for an influx of illegal migrants into America.
Six people were injured in the shooting spree, including four law-enforcement officers.
Listed in critical condition is 70-year-old Daniel Legar, a nurse and chaplain at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who was supposed to lead services for a different congregation on Saturday morning. According to family members, doctors have expressed optimism about Legar’s condition.