A librarian and recent college graduate are among the nine people killed by a white gunman in a black church in downtown Charleston.
State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41, the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Church, had already been identified as one of those killed.
Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said Thursday the others have been identified as Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and DePayne Doctor, 49.
Sanders had recently graduated from Allen University. Hurd worked for Charleston County’s library system for 31 years. Doctor was an enrollment counselor at Southern Wesleyan University’s Charleston Campus, according to a friend.
An agency that tracks extremists and white supremacist organizations says the suspect in the fatal shooting of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, wasn’t known to officials there.
Richard Cohen, president of Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, says suspect 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof — who is white — wasn’t known to the organization.
Cohen says it’s not clear whether Roof is connected to any of the 16 white supremacist organizations the law center has identified as operating in South Carolina.
But Cohen says Roof appears to be a “disaffected white supremacist” based on his Facebook page, which Cohen viewed.
Cohen notes that Roof was pictured wearing a jacket with emblems of the old apartheid regime in South Africa and the former African nation of Rhodesia, which was the name of Zimbabwe under white rule.
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.
UPDATE: 10:48 a.m.
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.
UPDATE: 10:32 a.m.
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.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime. The shooter remained at large Thursday morning.
Police Chief Greg Mullen said he believed the attack at the Emanuel AME Church was a hate crime, and police were looking for a white male in his early 20s. Mullen said the scene was chaotic when police arrived, and the officers thought they had the suspect tracked with a police dog, but he got away.
“We will put all effort, we will put all resources and we will put all of our energy into finding this individual who committed this crime tonight,” he said.
The FBI will aid the investigation, Mullen told a news conference that was attended by FBI Special Agent in Charge David A. Thomas.
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley called the shooting “the most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy.”
“The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” Riley said. “It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. … This is one hateful person.”
State House Minority leader Todd Rutherford told The Associated Press that the church’s pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, was among those killed.
Pinckney 41, was a married father of two who was elected to the state house at age 23, making him the youngest member of the House at the time.
“He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should,” Rutherford, D-Columbia, said. “He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.”
The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston that sparked major protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area. The officer has been charged with murder, and the shooting prompted South Carolina lawmakers to push through a bill helping all police agencies in the state get body cameras. Pinckney was a sponsor of that bill.
In a statement, Gov. Nikki Haley asked South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their families and decried violence at religious institutions.
“We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” Haley said.
Soon after Wednesday night’s shooting, a group of pastors huddled together praying in a circle across the street.
Community organizer Christopher Cason said he felt certain the shootings were racially motivated.
“I am very tired of people telling me that I don’t have the right to be angry,” Cason said. “I am very angry right now.”
Even before Scott’s shooting in April, Cason said he had been part of a group meeting with police and local leaders to try to shore up relations.
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.
ALEX SANZ AND DAVID GOLDMAN, Associated Press