Yours Truly CCG knows that he is crazy late reporting on this, but; it has taken Ya Boy this long to digest and internalize such a horrific event taking place, and; taking place inside of a place of worship!!!
In every community across the nation, the church is supposed to be the one place where everyone can have feelings of safety, security, and; every Wednesday night, many households of faith hold Wednesday Night Worship/Prayer Service, or; Wednesday Night Bible Study.
The EMANUEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL (AME) CHURCH in CHARLESTON, SC, is no exception to this rule.
However, on the evening of Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the lives of an entire community were rocked to the core.
While in the midst of their regular Wednesday Night Prayer Service, 21-year-old DYLANN ROOF (photo below) opened fire on the congregants, killing 9 innocent people who had gathered for Prayer and Bible Study.
It is reported that DYLANN ROOF sat amongst the worshippers for about an hour before unleashing his hateful wrath.
EMANUEL AME CHURCH is known as MOTHER EMANUEL due to being the oldest AME church in the south, and having the oldest BLACK CHURCH CONGREGATION south of BALTIMORE, MD, in the entire UNITED STATES. The church was founded in 1816 by Bishop MORRIS BROWN, the second bishop in the history of the AME Church, and the namesake of MORRIS BROWN COLLEGE, located here in ATLANTA.
CNN reports a Snapchat video from Wednesday night at the historic African-American church shows Roof at a table with the small group. Nothing in the footage suggests the carnage to come.
Police say Roof shot and killed nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the heart of Charleston's tourist district. Eight died at the scene; a ninth died at a hospital.
Authorities were shocked not only by the killings but that the violence occurred in a house of worship.
CHARLESTON, SC, Mayor JOE RILEY said;
"People in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person to come in and shoot them is inexplicable."
Six women and three men were killed, including the church's politically active pastor, the Rev. CLEMENTA PINCKNEY, who is also a SC State Senator.
Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Pinckney, said she heard about what happened inside the church from a survivor, a close friend.
SYLVIA JOHNSON said her friend recounted the man coming into the church, asking for the minister;
"My cousin, being the nice, kind, welcoming person he is, he welcomed him to his congregation, welcomed him to the Bible study, and he sat there for an hour ... At the conclusion of the Bible study, they just heard just a ringing of a loud noise, and it was just awful from what I heard."
When the son of her friend pleaded with the shooter to stop, Johnson said the gunman replied;
"'No, you've raped our women, and you are taking over the country ... I have to do what I have to do.' And he shot the young man."
Her friend pretended she was dead.
Sylvia Johnson said;
"But she watched her son fall and laid there. She laid there in his blood."
Before he left the church, he asked one of the elderly members whether he had shot her, and she said no.
DYLANN ROOF said;
"Good, because we need a survivor because I'm going to kill myself," Johnson told CNN.
A law enforcement official said witnesses told authorities the gunman stood up and said;
he was there "to shoot black people."
The president of the NAACP expressed his outrage at the violence.
NAACP President CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS said;
"There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture."ROOF, of LEXINGTON, SC, was arrested Thursday morning about 245 miles (395 kilometers) away in SHELBY, NC. He waived extradition and arrived back in South Carolina late Thursday.
He was taken into custody without incident shortly before 11 a.m., SHELBY POLICE said in a statement. Authorities got a call about a possible sighting of the suspect. A local newspaper filled in some of the details.
Police got a tip from Debbie Dills, who reportedly spotted Roof on her way into work. She followed him for 35 miles, the Shelby Star reported.
DEBBIE DILLS said;
"I had been praying for those people on my way to work.. I was in the right place at the right time."
At 10:43 a.m., officers saw the suspect's vehicle, and stopped it at 10:44 a.m., police said. Roof was the vehicle's only occupant.
He was armed with a gun when he was arrested, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. It's not clear if it's the same firearm used in the shooting.
It's uncertain who bought the gun Roof used.
A senior law enforcement source told CNN the suspect's father had recently bought him a .45-caliber gun for his 21st birthday in April.
But Roof's grandfather says it was just "birthday money" and that the family didn't know what Roof did with that money.
Eight died at the scene; the ninth, Rev. DANIEL SIMMONS, died at MUSC Medical Center. They were all killed by multiple gunshots fired at close range. One unidentified person was wounded but survived. Five individuals survived the shooting unharmed, including Felicia Sanders, mother of slain victim Tywanza Sanders, and her granddaughter, along with Polly Sheppard, a Bible study member.
Rev. Pinckney's wife and daughter were also inside the building during the shooting.
- Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (age 54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham
- Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member
- Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church sexton
- Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a Bible study teacher employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University
- Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church pastor and a South Carolina state senator
- Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; nephew of Susie Jackson
- Rev. Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw
- Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School
- Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher