UPDATE | Latest on church shooting: Mayor talks about city's grief

By  | 
View Map

Sunday, June 21, 2015
9:25 a.m.
The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, says people in his town are telling him they can't stop crying about the church shootings.

Joseph Riley says the grief and mourning is so widespread in his city that he can only compare it to the feeling of loss people had when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

The mayor says "my heart is broken" by the actions of what he calls "an evil man with his bigoted mind."

Riley says he's touched by the outpouring of support for the victims' families -- a private citizen handed him a $10,000 check on Sunday morning -- and he says the NFL's Carolina Panthers have contributed $100,000.

Riley was interviewed on CNN's "State of the Union" -- one of the several news shows he appeared on before church services.

He also called for action on guns and race relations.

"If we in America can't use this as a reason to address these issues, then you know, we're not doing a very good job."

Saturday, June 20, 2015
7:10 p.m.

Hundreds of demonstrators are marching through downtown Charleston, holding signs that read: "Still We Rise" and "Stop White Terrorism."

It's at least the second march Saturday night. Police are blocking off streets as the protesters move around the city.

The marches are happening after a police say a young white man opened fire earlier this week in a racially motivated attack on a black church, killing nine parishioners.

Dylann Roof is in jail on nine counts of murder and a weapons charge.

6:40 p.m.

About 150 people are marching on the streets of Charleston to remember the nine people who were gunned down in a historic black church.

The demonstrators had to walk through a group of about two dozen black men yelling at them. The black men wore shirts that said "Israel United in Christ," which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called a black supremacist group.

No problems were reported.

Marchers went on to sing together in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and later they prayed together.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof fatally shot nine people inside the church on Wednesday night in a racially motivated attack. Roof is white.
3 p.m.

(AP)-A group of congregation members met Saturday in the church room where days earlier nine people were killed when a man who had joined their Bible study allegedly opened fire.

Harold Washington says it was an emotional meeting.

Of the room where fellow parishioners were killed, Washington said: "They did a good job cleaning it up. There were a few bullet holes around, but ... they cut them out so you don't see the actual holes."

Washington says he expects a packed, emotional service Sunday when the church reopens.

He said: "I think it's gonna be a touching moment -- a lot of crying, hugging."

He also expects newcomers. He said: "We're gonna have people come by that we've never seen before and will probably never see again, and that's OK.

"It's a church of the Lord - you don't turn nobody down."

2:55 p.m.

(AP)-A federal law enforcement official says the FBI is looking into a website that appears to have photos of the Charleston church shooting suspect holding a Confederate flag along with a racist rant.

The purported manifesto was found on a website called LastRhodesian.com and surfaced Saturday. It's unclear whether it was written by Dylann Roof, the man arrested in the killing of nine people inside the church Wednesday night. The writings are in line with what Roof has told friends and what he said before allegedly opening fire in the historic black church Wednesday night.

A federal law enforcement official close to the investigation said the FBI is aware of the website and is reviewing it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the case.

-- Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Asheville, North Carolina

1:50 p.m.

(AP)-People are crowding the sidewalk, wiping sweat from their brows and tears from their eyes, as they listen to pastors from across the country speak outside "Mother" Emmanuel AME Church.

Two pastors from Oregon and New York asked the crowd to join hands and pray. The men stood together on a long step stool and spoke about how their common religion is more important than their race.

The Rev. Kyle Kneen, who is white, is a retired pastor from Florence, Oregon. Pastor Dimas Salaberrios, who is black, came to Charleston from Astoria, New York.

"I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm an African-American second," Salaberrios said. "God did not welcome me into the church just to hang out with black people."

The church was the site of a shooting rampage on Wednesday night, leaving nine people dead.

1:40 p.m.

(AP)-Congregation members say the historic black church where nine people were killed is going to re-open for Sunday morning service.

Cassie Watson said Saturday that the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church will open at 8:30 a.m. for Sunday school and 9 a.m. for a service.

Watson was one of more than a dozen people to enter the building after a cleaning crew had worked on it. Other congregation members also confirmed the church would open Sunday.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof fatally shot nine people at the church on Wednesday night.

1:10 p.m.

(AP)-About six to 10 people trickled into the historic black church that was the scene of a deadly shooting rampage earlier this week.

Presumably congregation members, they came to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Saturday through a parking lot that's still closed to the public. Some of them then embraced before entering the church through a side door on the street, where cleaning crews had been working earlier in the day.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof also entered the church through a side door on the street level on Wednesday night and stayed at a Bible study for about an hour before opening fire, killing nine people.

1 p.m.

(AP)-Mitt Romney says it's time to take down the Confederate flag that's flying near the South Carolina Capitol.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee tweets that the flag "is a symbol of racial hatred" to many people. His view: "Remove it now to honor" the nine victims of the church shooting in Charleston.

President Barack Obama has said he thinks the flag belongs in a museum.

South Carolina was the last state to fly the Confederate battle flag from its Capitol dome. In 2000, it was moved to a 30-foot flagpole in front of the Statehouse.

12:40 p.m.

(AP)-Photographs that appear to show the Charleston church shooting suspect holding a Confederate flag and burning an American flag appear with a racist rant on a newly uncovered website.

The purported manifesto was found on a website called LastRhodesian.com and surfaced Saturday. It's unclear if he wrote it but the writings are in line with what Roof has told friends and what he said before allegedly opening fire in the black church Wednesday night.

Internet registry records show that the website was registered on Feb. 9 via a Russian registry service -- a common tactic use by those to obscure personal details or hide who is behind any particular website.

The 60 pictures include Roof holding a Confederate flag and a close-up of a .45-calibar pistol. He is accused of using a similar handgun in the church shooting.

The nearly 2,500-word essay starts the author saying they were not raised in a racist home, but concluded they needed to become violent after typing "black on White crime" into Google. The author says they chose Charleston because at one time it had the highest ratio of blacks to whites and white supremacist groups were not doing enough.

Charleston Police didn't immediately respond to a message.

10:15 p.m.

(AP)-The memorial in front of the black church is growing with bouquets of flowers, balloons and teddy bears.

On Saturday morning, a couple dozen people stood in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where police say a young white man opened fire at the end of a Bible study group and killed nine people on Wednesday night.

Roses are intertwined in the black wrought-iron fence in front of the church and colorful bouquets of flowers are piled on top of each other.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof opened fire inside the church. He has been arrested and charged with nine counts of murder. He is currently being held in jail on a $1 million bond.



Friday, June 19, 2015
6:15 p.m.

The family of the man accused of killing nine people inside a black church in Charleston says they are in shock and disbelief over the slayings.

Dylann Roof's family issued a statement through attorney Boyd Young on Friday. The statement says the family extends their "deepest sympathies and condolences to families of the victims."

The family is devastated and praying for peace and healing for the relatives of those slain, according to the statement.

The 21-year-old Roof, who is white, has been jailed on nine murder charges. Police have said he made racially charged remarks in the weeks before the shootings, and also made a racially inflammatory statement to a witness.

5:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama says it is not sufficient simply to grieve over the South Carolina church shootings.

Obama is making a vigorous new call for gun control after the deaths of nine at a black church in Charleston.

He says some have misinterpreted his comments at the White House Thursday to mean he's resigned that gun control isn't possible. He told a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on Friday that he is not resigned and has faith eventually the country will "do the right thing."

He says attitudes have to change among lawful gun owners as well as those unfamiliar with guns. He says Congress will act when the public insists on action -- citing changing public opinion on gay marriage and climate change.

4:12 p.m.

(WRDW)--- Newly released police documents say the white man accused of killing nine people inside a black church stood over a witness and made a racially inflammatory remark.

Affidavits released Friday say 21-year-old Dylann Roof began shooting about an hour after he entered the Bible study at the church. It says he shot all nine victims multiple times, and that he stood over a witness and made the racial remark after the shooting.

The affidavits say Roof walked into the church around 8:06 p.m. Wednesday wearing a fanny pack, and that he walked out about an hour later holding a handgun.

The documents also say that Roof's father and uncle called authorities after seeing surveillance photos of him publicized. Roof's father told investigators his son owned a .45-caliber handgun, the affidavits say.

2:40 p.m.

(WRDW) -- A judge has set bond at $1 million for the suspect accused of shooting nine at a Charleston church. That bond is for the possession of a weapon during a violent crime. The judge ruled he did not have the authority to set bond for the nine murder charges.

Just before setting bond the judge allowed each victim's family's to make a statement to the suspect, Dylann Roof:

"Every fiber in my body hurts and i'll never be the same," said Felicia Sanders, mother of Tywanza Sanders.

"We are the family that love built, we have no room for hate, so we have to forgive," said sister of DePayne Middleton.

"I forgive him, my family forgives him, but we would like you to take this opportunity to repent, and confess," said family of Myra Thompson

"You took something very precious from me, I will never be able to talk to her again, to hold her again," said daughter of Ethel Lance.

The judge confirmed Roof's next court appearance will be October 23rd, and second will be Feb. 5, 2016.

1:42 p.m.

(AP) -- The 21-year-old man accused of killing nine people at a black church in Charleston is being held in a cell next to the former North Charleston police officer who fatally shot a black man running away from him.

Charleston County sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said Friday that Dylann Roof, who is accused in the church shooting, is in a cell next to former officer Michael Slager.

Slager has been charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott. Slager's shooting of a fleeing Scott following a traffic stop on April 4 was recorded on a bystander's cellphone.

Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder. He is being held in cell 1141B. Slager is in 1140B.

It's unlikely the two can talk to each other.

9:00 a.m.

(AP) — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says the gunman who killed nine people during a shooting spree at a Charleston church should get the death penalty.

Speaking Friday morning on NBC's "Today" show, Haley said the state "absolutely will want him to have the death penalty."

Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested Thursday in North Carolina, a day after nine people were killed during a Bible study at a historic black church in downtown Charleston.

Those killed included the minister at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The shooting is being considered a hate crime.

8:08 a.m.

(WRDW) -- CNN reports that the Dylann Roof, the suspect accused of shooting nine people in Charleston, has confessed to authorities.

One of the investigators say Roof admitted to trying to start a race war

6:00 a.m.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- North Carolina authorities say the suspect in the shooting of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston was transferred into FBI custody and flown to South Carolina to face charges. Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof fatally shot nine people Wednesday night during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. He faces an initial court appearance Friday.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

11:30 p.m.

Flowers, ribbons, and dozens of people lined Calhoun Street just outside of Emmanual AME Church. "It was just shocking there's no other word to describe it shocking and there's no other way to explain it," said Lisa Phibb.

Phibb works just across the street from the church. Yesterday she was watering her garden when she noticed someone off. "I did see a young man sitting out here in a gray long sleeve shirt and the first thing that popped into my mind was what is wrong with him you don't need to dress like that out here when it's 106 degrees," she said.

Hours later, police say a young man fitting that description, Dylann Roof, filled this church's fellowship hall with gunfire, killing nine people. Phibb could not believe what happened to her neighbors, her friends. "It just got worse and worse until it was unbelievable," she said.

Feelings echoed throughout the city tonight. "It's terrifying, and to think this happened in a church, it's terrible," Tammera Williams said.

Williams is from Charleston and works in the area near the church. She's visited Emmanuel AME many times. "It's praying time, it's definitely praying time," she said.

But now the city is coming together. "We're here, we all care and we're all praying," Williams said.

"I just hope we can all come together and prosper and make something good come out of this," Phibb said.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

5:20 p.m.

(AP) -- An assistant clerk in North Carolina says the extradition hearing for suspect in the fatal shooting of nine people at a historic black church lasted just 10 minutes, and he waived his right to counsel.

At the hearing, suspect 21-year-old Dylann Roof waived his right to extradition, which means he will be headed to South Carolina.

Cleveland County Assistant Clerk Ruth Deviney says she doesn't know when or how that will happen. She says Roof was taken from the courthouse by officers from the FBI, the Sheriff's Office and the Shelby Police. She says he's legally in the custody of the Shelby police.

Waiving his right to counsel means Roof will either represent himself or hire his own lawyer.

5:15 p.m.

(AP) -- Court records show that the suspect in the fatal shooting of nine people at a historic black church has waived extradition and will be headed from Shelby, North Carolina — where he was arrested — back to South Carolina.

The records show that 21-year-old Dylann Roof waived extradition during a Thursday afternoon court appearance in Shelby. He was arrested there earlier in the day in a car by local police.

Police in Charleston, South Carolina, say he fatally shot the nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Church there on Wednesday night after joining in a Bible study group for nearly an hour.

On Thursday, Roof wore a bullet-resistant vest over a white T-shirt, black jeans and brown boots as two police officers walked him through a side door at the Shelby police department and down some stairs to a waiting squad car.

He had shackles on his feet and his hands were cuffed behind his back.

Roof kept his head down most of the time, chin toward his chest, before officers drove him away.

3:45 p.m.

(AP) -- The county coroner says the man who fatally shot nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, had joined the group for Bible study, where he was accepted by the group before becoming aggressive and violent.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten made the remarks Thursday at a news conference where she gave the identities of the nine victims. Officials say the study group believed the shooter wanted to join them in studying the Bible, and he stayed there for nearly an hour before the shooting.

Wooten says autopsies will be conducted over the next few days. She says she doesn't have specific information on where or how many times the victims were shot.

Suspect 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested Thursday in his car on the road in Shelby, N.C. Officials say they believe he acted alone. He is white, and officials say they're investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

3:19 p.m.

(WRDW) -- The Charleston County Coroner has identified the following as victims of the shooting in Charleston:


  • Cynthia Hurd, 54 - branch manager St. Andrews Regional Library

  • Susie Jackson, 87

  • Ethel lance, 70

  • DePayne Middleton, 49 - retired from Charleston County Director of Community Development Grant Program

  • Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41 - South Carolina State Senator

  • Tywanza Sanders, 26

  • Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74 - Simmons died in the operating room

  • Sharonda Singleton, 45

  • Myra Thompson, 59

2:05 p.m.

(WRDW) -- Aiken Technical College tells News 12 Jennifer Pinckney, the wife of the South Carolina State Senator killed in the Charleston shooting, worked as a librarian at Aiken Technical College in the 2000's.

Aiken Tech released the following statement in support of the Pinckney family:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Charleston and the loss of Senator Pinckney. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Pinckney family, to all the victims of last night’s tragedy and their families, and to the entire Charleston community."

12:30 p.m.

(AP) -- President Barack Obama has expressed anger, sadness and heartache at the church shooting that left nine dead in Charleston, South Carolina.

He says Wednesday night's shooting inside a historic black church shows the need for a national reckoning on gun violence in America.

The president said that too often, he's had to come to microphone to mourn the deaths of innocents killed by those who had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Obama said.

Obama says he and Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. to express condolences.

The president says he and first lady Michelle Obama knew several parishioners there, including the church's pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, among those killed.

Obama spoke from the White House briefing room before departing on a weekend fundraising trip to California.

12:27 p.m.

(AP) -- Officials say they don't know the motive for the man suspected of killing nine people inside a historic black church in Charleston, but the mayor calls it "pure, pure concentrated evil."

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. made the remarks Thursday about the Wednesday night shooting that officials have called a hate crime.

Police chief Greg Mullen says suspect 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested Thursday in his car on the road in Shelby, N.C. Mullen says Roof had a weapon at the time, but officials wouldn't give other details.

Mullen also says it's unknown whether the shooter intentionally left behind any survivors at the church. Mullen has said Roof was at the church for nearly an hour for a prayer meeting before the shooting.

11:48 a.m.

(AP) -- The police chief in Charleston says the white man suspected of killing nine people inside a historic black church has been captured in North Carolina.

Chief Greg Mullen says 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested Thursday during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.

Mullen said previously that Roof stayed at a prayer meeting for nearly an hour on Wednesday night before he opened fire, killing three males and six females. Among the dead was state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Names of the other victims haven't been released. Officials have said they are waiting until families are notified.

11:32 a.m.

(AP) -- U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says a suspect is in custody in the fatal shooting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

"I can confirm that there is a suspect in custody," she said.

She gave no other details.

Nine people including the pastor were killed in the Wednesday night shooting. An intense manhunt followed.

Police earlier identified the suspect as 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina. They released surveillance video photographs of the gunman and a dark colored sedan he may have used to get away.

Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen says Roof stayed at a prayer meeting for nearly an hour before he opened fire. Among the dead was state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

Authorities have called the shooting a hate crime.

11:22 a.m.

(AP) -- Court records show that the suspect in a fatal shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina has one felony drug case pending against him, a past misdemeanor trespassing charge and no other criminal record in the state.

The state and county court records show that 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof had no adult criminal history in South Carolina until March, when he was arrested in Lexington County on felony drug possession charges. That case is pending. Count records list no attorney to try to reach for comment.

In April, state police say that Roof, of Lexington, was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing in Lexington County. No further details on that charge were immediately available.

Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the downtown Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday night. Police say the young white man joined a prayer meeting at the church and then opened fire. Authorities believe it was a hate crime.

10:49 a.m.

Augusta's Interfaith Coalition will host a Prayer Vigil and News Conference at 12 noon at Bethel A.M.E. Church on Crawford Avenue in Augusta.

Members say they are asking the public to attend for prayers of comfort, support, peace, protection, and contentment for the members, victim families, and community of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston.

10:29 a.m.

News 12 On Your Side looked into Dylann Storm Roof's criminal history and found investigators him on March 2, 2015. He is facing drug charges in that case.

10:22 a.m.

WTOC, the CBS affiliate in Savannah, Georgia, is reporting police in Charleston have identified the suspect in the mass church shooting in as Dylann Roof, 21.

8:45 a.m.

A Justice Department spokesman says federal officials are opening a hate crime investigation into the fatal shooting of nine people at a historic black church in South Carolina.

The spokesman said Thursday that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina are opening the investigation into the Wednesday night shooting.

The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorized to be quoted by name because the federal investigation has not been officially announced.

8 a.m.

The city of Charleston has opened an assistance center for families of the victims of Wednesday night's fatal shooting at a historic black church.

City spokeswoman Barbara Vaughn says the center will be based at a hotel and will be staffed by local, state and federal victim services personnel, as well as a group of Charleston-area chaplains.

Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the downtown Emanuel AME Church. Police have said there are six female and three male victims. Officials say names won't be released until families are notified. But House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford has said state Sen. Clementa Pinckney was among those killed.

The city's statement on the assistance center asks for privacy for families of the victims.

7:15 a.m.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says the suspect in a shooting that killed nine people was at a historic black church attending a meeting and stayed for almost an hour before gunfire erupted.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen gave the details at a Thursday morning news conference. He didn't elaborate. At the news conference, he also identified the victims of the Wednesday church night shooting as six females and three males. He says names won't be released until families are notified.

The suspect is described as a white man thought to be in his early 20s. Mullen says the suspect is a "very dangerous individual."


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Police chief: Shooting victims at downtown Charleston church are 3 males, 6 females.



CHARLESTON, S.C. (WRDW) -- Authorities have released a surveillance photo of the suspect in the mass shooting at a Charleston church.

They believe he is a 5'9" white male with blonde hair. He was seen wearing boots and a sweatshirt.

Police said in a news conference that the suspect left in a 4-door black sedan, seen in surveillance video as well. He is being described as "extremely dangerous."

Police do not believe he is in the Charleston area anymore. To call in tips to the FBI, call 1-800-CALL-FBI.



CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Legislative leader says pastor among the dead in shooting at historic black Charleston church. According to the church's website, the pastor is South Carolina Senator Clementa C. Pinckney.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Charleston mayor: Police say 9 have been killed in shooting at historic black church. Charleston police chief says he will investigate shooting as hate crime.



CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Police have responded to a shooting at the site of a church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, but there is now word yet on possible casualties.

The address where police say the shooting took place is that of the Emanuel AME Church.

The Post and Courier newspaper is reporting that the pastor of the church was inside for a service at the time of the shooting. But it was unclear if the shooting took place inside the church.

Police are saying on Twitter that they're looking for an approximately 21-year-old white male.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene says police helicopters with searchlights are circling overhead in the area, and a group of pastors are kneeling and praying across the street.

The Emmanuel AME church is a historic African-American church that traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston's Methodist Episcopal church.

One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Parishioners worshipped underground until after the Civil War.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.


Governor Nikki Haley's statement on shooting:

“Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”



CHARLESTON, S.C. (WRDW) - First responders are on the scene of an active shooting on Calhoun St. in Downtown Charleston. According to the SConFire.com Facebook page, there are reports of at least eight people dead.

The shooting was reported at the Emanuel Church. Authorities are warning people to avoid the area.

According to WCSC, the call reporting the shooting came in around 9.

2015-06-17 21:33 EDT | SC | CHARLESTON CO|CHARLESTON |**ACTIVE SHOOTER**| 110 CALHOUN STREET | EMANUEL CHURCH|NUMEROUS FD EMS PD UNITS OTI|REPORTS OF 8 FATAL|UPDATES TO FOLLOW|AVOID THE AREA | SC-58 | Map

Posted by SConFire.com on Wednesday, June 17, 2015