— Pranaav Jadhav (@pranaavj) June 18, 2015
Already being hailed in the media as a “hate crime,” it’s being reported that a white gunman walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black congregations, during a prayer meeting tonight just after 9pm and opened fire, killing eight people and wounding two others. One of the two died later at the hospital. Among the dead is State Senator and Rev. Clements Pinckney, the church’s pastor. The news was confirmed by Al Sharpton:
Rev. Clements Pinckney, a SC legislator is among the 9 killed in SC church. I am reminded that he helped lead our prayer vigil for Scott. — Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 18, 2015
Shortly after the shooting, reporters and others were kept away from the scene on the claim there was a bomb threat near the church. That threat has since been given the all clear.
The gunman is still at large and a manhunt is currently underway. Description of the shooter from the Charleston Police Department:
Suspect in shooting on Calhoun St is a w/m approx 21 slender small build wearing a grey sweat shirt blue jeans timberland boots clean shaven
— Charleston P.D. (@CharlestonPD) June 18, 2015
Reuters is already reporting, “The shooting called to mind a 1963 bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four girls and galvanized the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The Charleston church is one of the largest and oldest black congregations in the South, its website says.”
(Screen cap linked to the cached page because the quote was later removed…)
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