June 17, 2015

UPDATE: Suspect has been identified at Dylann Storm Roof, 21, who has been arrested on trespassing and drug charges in the past.

Yet another mass shooting, and this one certainly appears to be race-motivated. A shooter opened fire on Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Police are still looking for a 21-year old white male, wearing Timberland boots and a gray sweatshirt.


Several people were killed in a shooting at an historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The shooter is still at large.

The shooting took place Wednesday evening at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South.

Police haven't said how many people have been shot. But the source who spoke to CNN said several bodies were in the church that were yet to be identified.

"It's really bad. It's a very bad scene," local pastor Thomas Dixon said.

"Apparently the person just entered the church and opened fire. That part has not been fully articulated on what happened yet ... they are still looking for the suspect."

Search on for suspect
Police said the suspect in the shooting is a clean-shaven white man in his 20s, with a slender build. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and boots.

Soon afterward, news cameras showed officers taking a man matching that description into custody, but police said they were still looking for the shooter.

The department asked anyone with information to call 911 dispatchers

According to Twitter, children are among the dead, but that is as yet unconfirmed.

A live feed is embedded above, via local Charleston station Live5News.


Nine people are reportedly dead. South Carolina state senator Clementa Pinckney, who is also the pastor of the church, is reported to be among the dead, but that report is still unconfirmed.

Update 2:

Senator Pinckney has now been confirmed to be among the dead. There are 9 dead. 8 died at the scene and 1 was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Update 3:

At a press conference a few minutes ago, Mayor Joe Riley said he believes it is a hate crime. I think that's a reasonable assumption, given the historic significance of that church, and the fact that the pastor is also a State Senator.

Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:

(I'm looking at YOU, Chief Justice John Roberts)

(I share that sentiment. If you're not angry, something isn't right.)

More on the church's history and why an attack there would be viewed as a hate crime:

The gunman’s attack targeted the oldest black church south of Baltimore, and one of the most storied black congregations in the United States. Emanuel A.M.E. Church’s history is deeply intertwined with the history of African American life in Charleston. Among the congregation’s founders was Denmark Vesey, a former slave who was executed in 1822 for attempting to organize a massive slave revolt in antebellum South Carolina. White South Carolinians burned the church to the ground in response to the thwarted uprising; along with other black churches, it was shuttered by the city in 1834. The church reorganized in 1865, and soon acquired a new building designed by Robert Vesey, Denmark’s son; the current building was constructed in 1891. It has continued to play a leading role in the struggle for civil rights.

Update 4: According to reports, the FBI is declaring this an act of domestic terrorism.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.