Local man traveling to Pittsburgh to help plan funerals of synagogue shooting victims

Local man traveling to Pittsburgh to help plan funerals of synagogue shooting victims

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A local funeral director is heading to Pittsburgh Tuesday in an effort to help plan the funerals of the 11 victims who were shot to death at a synagogue over the weekend.

Michael Smith, the owner of The Shalom Memorial Chapel in Cranston, will be assisting the funeral director in Pittsburgh in organizing the funerals.

“She needs the help, she’s overwhelmed and I can understand that,” Smith explained.

Police said the alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, shouted anti-Semitic statements as he opened fire on the congregants at Shabbat services Saturday morning. He is charged with dozens of criminal counts including murder and hate crimes.

“If you have a heart it has to hurt you,” Smith said.

Smith said while word traveled fast of his selfless act, he said he just wanted to help out in a time of need. He was one of hundreds of people who attended a vigil Monday night in solidarity of the victims.

Religious leaders across the state echoed a clear message which they shared with the crowd.

“Even in our darkest of moments, our holy writings guide us,” Rabbi Sarah Mack said. “Look at everyone here, bearing light, this is how we combat hate.”

During the vigil, 11 candles were lit one by one, each in honor of the lives lost.

“Even as our hearts grieve. We pray for healing. May we find the strength to repair our world,” Rabbi Mack said.

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