Cousin of 2 slain at synagogue offers hope: 'We're gonna make it, all of us'

Trauma medics, supporters and family members swarmed Tree of Life Synagogue after 11 were killed.

John McDevitt
October 29, 2018 - 5:21 pm
A memorial on the sidewalk on Wilkins Avenue near the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Cara Owsley/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

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PITTSBURGH (KYW Newsradio) — As the investigation continues, the streets near the Tree of Life Synagogue remain closed to the public in Pittsburgh following the deadly shooting that left 11 dead.

It's a Jewish tradition to place a stone on top of a grave marker to honor those who have died. So when Merna Prince, a first cousin of two slain in the shooting, went to pay her respects at a marker bearing their names at a memorial in front of the synagogue, she was stopped by police and asked if I could do the honor for her relatives. 

"I've had (tears) for many days," said Prince, who was a member of the synagogue for 27 years. "I was married from there. My children were bar mitzvahed there."

The stones were placed for Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86 years old, respectively, who were among the 11 people killed. 

Prince's husband is also in hospice care, but among the tragedies, she sees the blessings.

"You know what — we're gonna make it, all of us," she said. "I was raised (believing) it didn't matter what color you were, it didn't matter what religion you were. It mattered that you were a decent human being."

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KYW Newsradio's John McDevitt reported live from Pittsburgh. Listen to the full interview below.