Gunman Kills 9 in Charleston, SC Church Shooting


UPDATE, 11:03am EST: Suspect has been identified as 21 year old Dylan Storm Roof.


 

UPDATE, 7:24am EST: Police chief Greg Mullen told reporters in a press conference three survived the shooting, not one as previously reported.


 

UPDATE, 6:03am EST: Police chief Greg Mullen confirmed they believe the shooter’s motivation was hate based. They also released surveillance footage of the suspect, revealed first by NBC News 2:

Suspect


 

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) – A gunman opened fire in a historic black church Wednesday night, killing nine people before he fled. Among those killed was Democratic Senator Clementa Pinckney, who also served as the congregation’s pastor.

As of this morning, the shooter is still at large. He is described as a clean shaven white male in his early twenties. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, bluejeans and Timberland boots at the time of the incident.

revpinckney
Rev. Clementa Pinckney reportedly killed in shootings.

The attack has been called a hate crime by NAACP President Cornell William Brooks.

“The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime.  Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church.  The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night bible study. There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.  Today I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP.

The NAACP South Carolina State Conference and Charleston Branch have been working on the ground—with police and the community to bring this case to a close.  We remain vigilant while the local police and FBI investigate this hate crime and bring the shooter to justice.”

The scene outside the church. (Richard Ellis/European Pressphoto Agency)

Billie Jean Shaw, reporter for @WIS10, tweeted that the gunman supposedly sat through church services before opening fire on the congregation.

This was corroborated by ABC News anchor and correspondent T.J. Holmes.

Social News Daily reached out to Shaw over Twitter this morning, asking if anyone inside the church had survived. “So far 1 survivor”, she responded.

According to family members of the victims, the shooter stopped to reload five times during the assault. They also indicate a five year old girl was able to survive the shooting by playing dead. She is apparently the lone survivor. (UPDATE, 7:24am EST: Police chief Greg Mullen states three survived shooting)

The incident occurred at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shortly after 9:00pm on June 17th. The church has a storied history and is a place of significance for the civil rights movement, in particular.  In 1822, one of the church’s founders attempted to start a slave rebellion in Charleston, according to the church’s website. The plot was foiled and 35 people were executed for the conspiracy.

On social media, the hashtag #CharlestonShooting is trending with live updates from the scene. This reddit thread has also been compiling pertinent tweets and information about the incident.

A press conference has been scheduled for 7:00am EST. Social News Daily will update this article with any new information as the day progresses. UPDATE, 8:35 EST: Charleston Police held two press conferences shortly after publication of this story.


 

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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.

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