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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh: Preparedness, Prehospital Care, and Lessons Learned


On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a man with anti-Semitic motivations entered Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; he had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and three handguns, opening fire upon worshippers. Eventually 11 civilians died at the scene and eight people sustained non-fatal injuries, including five police officers. Each person injured but alive at the scene received care at one of three local level-one trauma centers.  The injured had wounds often seen in war-settings, with the signature of high velocity weaponry.  We describe the scene response, specific elements of our hospital plans, the overall out-of-hospital preparedness in Pittsburgh, and the lessons learned.

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