Charny found himself tucked into a storage room stuffed with cardboard boxes. The building was silent, he said. Anxious thoughts crashed inside his head: How long are we going to be here? Is he coming? How would they get out?
“We all knew leaving too soon would have been our deaths,” Charny said.
Pittsburgh police said they followed the shooter to the synagogue’s top level, where he allegedly had been stalking from room to room on the other end of the building from where Charny hid. Police said Bowers and responding officers exchanged gunfire — two officers were hit multiple times, and one was critically wounded. Bowers also was shot in the firefight. After he was taken into custody, he allegedly told a SWAT operator “that he wanted all Jews to die and also that they were committing genocide to his people.”
Charny and the two others with whom he was hiding eventually slipped out of their hiding places, emerging outside the synagogue, where they were met by police. Charny is recovering at home from his close call.