Nine persons have died in a shooting at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, United States on Wednesday.
Gregory Mullen, City Police Chief, described the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as a “hate crime.”
A prayer meeting was going on in the church at the time of the shooting incident which occurred at about 21:00 local time on Wednesday (01:00 GMT Thursday). The church’s pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney, is reported to be among the dead.
Police authorities have released surveillance images of the suspect – a white male in his 20s – and a vehicle. They had earlier issued an initial description of the suspect as white, about 21, slender build and clean-shaven and wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.
Speaking at a press conference, Mullen said, “There were eight deceased individuals inside of the church. Two individuals were transported to the hospital. One of them has died.”
The Police chief added that, “It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives.”