Senator, 8 others mauled in hate shooting
Dylann Roof, 21, the suspect in Wednesday’s deadly shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been taken into custody in North Carolina, a senior law enforcement official said on Thursday.
At least nine people were killed after a gunman opened fire at the historic black church, in what police have described as a “hate crime”.
Police released an image of the gunman and a car from video at a press conference on Thursday. The suspect, was described as a clean-shaved, white male aged approximately 21, with a small, slender build, wearing a grey sweatshirt with jeans and boots.
Gunfire erupted on Wednesday inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, whose pastor Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic member of the South Carolina Senate, was named as one of the dead.
New report has emerged that the suspect, Dylann Roof, got a gun as his 21st birthday present from his father.
Roof has been taken into custody in Shelby, North Carolina, law enforcement officers said.
The Democratic party leader in the South Carolina state house confirmed Senator Pinckney was among the dead.
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church traces its roots to 1816 and is one of the largest black congregations south of Baltimore. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr addressed the church in 1962.
Eight of the victims were killed in the church. Another died on the way to hospital. Charleston police chief, Greg Mullen said there were survivors, but declined to give more details.
Mullen said he believed the shooting was “a hate crime”. He said: “This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience … It is senseless, unfathomable. We are going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him [the gunman] up, to make sure he does not hurt anyone else.
The city’s mayor, Joseph P Riley Jr, described the killing as an “unspeakable tragedy”, pledging to “bring this awful person to justice as soon as humanely possible”.
He said he had met victims’ families in “a heartbreaking scene I have never witnessed in my life before”. He added: “I told them that this community sends forth its love to them and we are all in this together.”
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said in a statement she and her family were praying for the victims. “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,” she said.
Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said the organisation was “outraged” to be faced with another mass hate crime 106 years after it was founded to fight racial hatred.
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June 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm
These hate crimes, on the rise in America today, are the fruits from seeds of racial discord sown long ago. In my dear country Nigeria, I watch with dismay, as we sow seeds of ethnic discord everyday. Our large scale cultivation of tribal, religious and party sentiments on the social media is alarming. The way we freely hurl insults and ridicule at fellow Nigerians who are different from us in any way is troubling . I watch the increasing intolerance in the land, I watch our unashamed eagerness for imbibing western idiosyncrasies, and I fear that hate crimes could be lurking somewhere in our future.
Let us not forget that with the present weakness of our systems, the hate crime phenomenon could bring us far greater disaster than it could bring the West. We can still reverse the disturbing trend.
Love is free, hate is costly.