Nielsen says DHS security adviser visited Pittsburgh synagogue 'as recently as March'

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House MORE on Sunday condemned a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead, calling it a "pure act of evil." 

"We all condemn this in the strongest terms possible," Nielsen said on "Fox News Sunday."

The secretary said DHS does "an extraordinary amount" of planning and training for active shooter events like the one that unfolded Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Nielsen noted that a department security adviser was at the synagogue as recently as March for a site visit.

"This is something we often do," she said. "We feel that the best way to help communities support their efforts in terms of protection is to be there. To be there on the ground, to listen to them, to understand their needs."


She said DHS has conducted similar training with more than 900,000 officials nationwide on planning for active shooter events. Each site and event will prompt a different response, she said, which makes the training critical.

Robert Bowers, 46, was charged with 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation after police said he opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue during Saturday morning services.

Authorities said he told police as he was being treated for injuries upon his arrest that he wanted all Jews to die.

Bowers carried a rifle and three handguns and shouted anti-Semitic slurs as he entered the house of worship, police said.

It is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

President Trump condemned the attack as "an assault on humanity." He also suggested the house of worship may have been better able to defend itself from such an attack if it had armed security on site.