timberland duck boots Churchgoers killed when man opens fire at prayer meeting
A woman who survived the shooting says the gunman said he was letting her live so that she could tell people what happened, Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott told CNN. The person who shot and killed nine people at Charleston Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was there for about an hour, attending a meeting with the eventual victims, before he began shooting, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning. The suspect is in his early 20s and stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall. has on a very distinctive sweatshirt as well as the vehicle, with a very distinctive license plate, the police chief said.He didn start shooting right away, police said.The white man spent an hour in a prayer meeting at the historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night before he opened fire, killing nine people, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning.Then the man escaped onto the streets of the city historic downtown, an area normally jammed with tourists. He was still at large Thursday morning as an army of law enforcement officers combed the region.Mullen said he considers the shooting at the oldest AME church in the South a hate crime a designation that would allow federal prosecution.only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.Eight churchgoers died at the scene; a ninth at a hospital, police said. Among them is the pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, South Carolina state Sen. Kent Williams told CNN. He a cousin of Pinckney who was also a state senator.A woman who survived says the gunman told her he was letting her live so that she could tell people what happened, Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott told CNN. Scott said she heard this from the victims family members.did not hear this verbatim from the almost victim, I heard it from at least half a dozen other folks that were there and family of the victims. There seems to be no question that this is what the shooter said, Scott said. The church holds a regular Wednesday night prayer meeting.in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person to come in and shoot them is inexplicable, Riley said.There were 13 people inside the church when the shooting happened the shooter, the nine people who were killed and three survivors, South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, who was briefed by law enforcement, told CNN. Two of the survivors were not harmed, he said.Mullen said six females and three males were killed. He said he didn know if the shooter had specific targets.don know if anybody was targeted other than the church itself, he said.Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been a presence in Charleston since 1816, when African American members of Charleston Methodist Episcopal Church formed their own congregation after a dispute over burial grounds.It was burned to the ground at one point, but rebuilt. Throughout its history,
it overcame obstacle after obstacle destroyed by an earthquake, banned by the state. But its church members persevered, making it the largest African American church in terms of seating space in Charleston today.Mullen said video cameras at the church show the suspect is in his early 20s and stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall. has on a very distinctive sweatshirt as well as the vehicle, with a very distinctive license plate, the chief said.is a very dangerous individual, Mullen said. should not be approached by anyone. Call law enforcement if you recognize the individual or the car so we can take appropriate action. are through all kinds of video and trying to identify any private or public video that may show anything useful for the investigation, Mullen said.The killing put the nation spotlight once again on the Charleston region. Several months ago, Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot in the back by a North Charleston police officer, a killing that was captured on video.Pinckney had spoken out about Scott killing and pushed legislation calling for body cameras for police officers. Riley, who seen Charleston go through ups and downs during his 40 years as mayor, said the city must immediately start the healing process.can catch this no good, horrible person and see that he pays the price, he said. then what we will do, and what this community has always done, is we are going to put our arms around that church and that church family. the shooting, church and community members converged on the area to pray in the street, often while holding hands.Dot Scott, the NAACP leader, said family and friends of the victims gathered at the Embassy Suites motel near the church after the shooting.were at least 50 or more people there, she said. were families of the victims, grandchildren, council members, and a bunch of people there. on for the gunmanPolice described the gunman as clean shaven with a slender build and sandy blond hair. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.On Thursday morning, police handed out images of the man and his car taken from surveillance footage and asked for the public help in identifying him.is an all hands on deck effort with the community as well as law enforcement, Mullen said. people go out, they should be vigilant, they should be aware of their surroundings. And if they see anything suspicious, they should call law enforcement. Wednesday night, news cameras showed officers taking a man matching that description into custody, but he was later released.