At a press conference early Thursday morning, Charleston, SC police chief Gregory Mullen reported that nine were killed in a shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday that he believes was a hate crime.
Mullen said that eight people were killed inside the church, and two were transported to the hospital, but one has passed away. He did not describe the individuals, however, NBC News reported that the church’s pastor, Reverend and former State Senator Clementa Pinckney was among the victims.
Rev Clementa Pinckney, also a longtime SC state senator, is among the dead at the church in #charleston.He was the pastor of the church.
— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) June 18, 2015
State Sen. Clementa Pinckney among the dead, NBC News confirms — Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) June 18, 2015
Mullen described the suspect, who is still at large, as “a white male, approximately 21 years old, sandy blonde hair” and “extremely dangerous.” He urged anyone with information about the individual to come forward while vowing “we will put all effort, we will put all resources, and we will put all of our energy into finding this individual who committed this crime tonight,” and that the city will offer a reward for the shooter’s capture. Mullen also stated that as far as they know, there was only one gunman who carried out the “senseless” and “unfathomable” act.
Suspect in shooting on Calhoun St is a w/m approx 21 slender small build wearing a grey sweat shirt blue jeans timberland boots clean shaven
— Charleston P.D. (@CharlestonPD) June 18, 2015
Later in the press conference, he declared, “I do believe this is a hate crime,” and said the shooting will be investigated as such. He further said the shooting was “an opportunity for us all to unite because of a significant tragedy that has occurred.” And urged prayers for the victims’ families.
Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. described the shooter as “one hateful person” and urged “love and support” for the victims’ families
After Riley, Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff asked for prayers for the victims’ families and declared that he believes the shooting was a hate crime.
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