In Charleston, South Carolina, after attending bible study A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.
At a news conference with Charleston’s mayor early this morning, the police chief, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime.
“It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church while they are having a prayer meeting and take their lives,” he said.
Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. Two people were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, and one of them died on the way.
“Obviously, this is the worst night of my career,” Chief Mullen said. “This is clearly a tragedy in the city of Charleston.”
City officials did not release information about the victims and did not say how many people were in the church during the shooting. Hospital officials declined to comment. But it has been reported that a 5 year old girl survived the shooting by playing dead.
At the time of the publishing the gunman is still on the loose, and local law enforce, the FBI, the ATF, and other agencies are in the midst of a massive manhunt.
The Emanuel A.M.E church was founded over 150 years ago, and we can only imagine what the founders of this house of worship have had to go through during such turbulent times in America. But one thing is for certain, if asked, none of the would have imagined something like this happening in 2015.
But given the fact that this tragedy happened in a state that still insists on proudly flying the confederate flag as a symbol of pride and culture, maybe the prospect of such a heinous crime would not seem so far fetched after all.