President Obama wasted no time in light of the massacre at the historic and symbolic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again… innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. Now is the time for mourning and for healing,” Obama said in a statement to the press.
“But let’s be clear,” Obama continued. “At some point—we, as a country, will have to reckon with a fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency, and it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town.”
“At some point it’s going to be important for American people to come to grips with it… and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively,” Obama concluded.
The suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, has since been placed into custody after being caught more than 200 miles from where the shooting that caused nine fatalities occurred.
Roof has been charged with using a .45 caliber handgun that was obtained by his father as a birthday present for his 21st birthday in April.
Public records have also indicated that Roof was previously arrested on drug charges in which he was allegedly in possession of a popular opiate addiction treatment medication, Suboxone.