CHARLESTON, S.C.- Authorities were searching for a white man who opened fired on a prayer meeting being held inside a historic Emmanuel AME Church located in downtown Charleston. This South Carolina shooting killed nine people (including the pastor), and authorities have dubbed this a hate crime.
The gunman remained at large Thursday morning causing police to release photographs and video of both the suspect and a dark colored Sedan that they believe was the suspect’s vehicle.
Police Chief, Greg Mullen, warns that this person is dangerous.
The suspect apparently attended the meeting on Wednesday night and remained there for almost an hour before the deaths. Mullen revealed that there were six women and three males that were shot in the event. Their names have not been released until all the families have been notified.
The only name that has been revealed was by State House Minority leader, Todd Rutherford, who informed the Associated Press that state Senator Clementa Pinckney was among those that was killed.
Picnckney, who was 41, was elected to the state House at 23, which made him the youngest member of the House at the time.
Rutherford commented that “He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should. He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.”
Interesting note is that Pinckney was a sponsor of a bill that resulted from a recent fatal shooting of an unarmed black man. The bill would help all police agencies in the state to get body cameras.
Mullen has labelled this attack as a hate crime and a Justice Department spokesperson revealed that federal officials are opening a hate crime investigation.
Police believe that the suspect is still in the Charleston area and has been described as a white man in his early 20s.
UPDATE: CNN reports that suspect Dylann Roof (21) has been arrested in North Carolina.
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