Charleston Police: Nine Killed In SC Church Shooting, Suspect At Large, Believed to Be Hate Crime

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.


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.


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.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett