A white gunman, who remained unidentified, entered a church in Charleston that housed one of the oldest black congregations in the United States and started shooting. His actions led to the tragic death of nine people.
The tragic event occurred on Wednesday, the 18th of June at a historic black church located in the center of the city. The police chief, Greg Mullen, said that the shooter’s action was most probably a hate crime, as he did not seem to target someone in particular.
The shooter was described as a white young man of about 21 years old who was clean shaven and wearing a grey sweatshirt, a pair of blue jeans and Timberland boots.
He entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church late in the evening, at about 9 pm, while people were attending a mass. He killed eight people on the spot and managed to injure other two. The latter were both taken to the hospital, but one of them couldn’t make it and died on the ambulance. It is not yet certain how many people there were in the church.
Details regarding the victims’ identities were not released to the press neither by police officials nor by hospital representatives. However, it was revealed that the pastor officiating the mass, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, aged 41 and one of his sisters were among the ones killed.
People spoke dearly of Rev. Pickney, saying that he was a devoted and well respected man who dedicated his life to public service.
“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience. It is senseless and unfathomable that someone would go into a church where people were having a prayer meeting and take their lives,” said chief Mullen, describing it as the worst case of his career.
The mayor also spoke to the reporters, expressing his deep concern and sorrow for the families who lost their relatives. He also said that there will be a reward available for those who can give any information regarding the whereabouts of the shooter.
The killer managed to flee the area after shooting so many innocent people and the police are still looking for him.
A suspect was arrested not long after the shooting but the police said that he was not the right one and they are still looking.
Such hate crimes are not common in the area, especially in a church and during a ceremony. The police are investigating the area and are looking for any evidence that could point to the perpetrator.
Image Source: nytimes