Charleston, South Carolina

Everything You Should Know About The Charleston, South Carolina Shooting

Here's all the news being reported about the fatal shooting down in Charleston, S.C., the suspected killer and the victims.

Last night (June 17), Charleston, SC was the latest city to grieve over the loss of black life. A gunman entered the sanctuary of downtown’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church—one of Charleston’s most historical black churches—and opened fire during Bible study, killing nine people. The suspect in question has been identified as 21-year-old white male Dylann Storm Roof.

With all the thoughts and theories floating around the series of events, here are all the facts being reported about the Charleston shooting.

1) Around 8 p.m. Wednesday night (Jun. 17), security footage shows a young white male—suspected to be 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof—entering a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He stayed for approximately one hour before opening fire in the sanctuary. [MSN]

2) Here’s the run-down on Dylann Storm:

  • Storm is currently in police custody. Roof was arrested at 11 a.m. today (June 18) at a traffic stop in Shelby, N.C., about 250 miles outside of Charleston. According to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, Roof “was cooperative with the officer who stopped him.” [Washington Post]
  • According to court records, Storm is from Eastover, a town 25 miles outside Columbia [NY Times]
  • Roof already had two arrests for this year related to cocaine/LSD and trespassing. [WBTV]
  • The suspect's uncle, Carson Cowles, said that Roof received a .45-caliber pistol for his 21st birthday this year. [Reuters]
  • Sparse Facebook photos were found of Roof sporting a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) stitched on them. [The Daily Beast]


3) According to Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Rev. Pinckney, Roof specifically asked for the pastor. One of the survivors told her that the suspect “reloaded [the gun] five different times” and she tried to talk him out of shooting any more people. The suspect allegedly told the lone survivor, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go.” [MSN]

4) Six females and three males were killed, including the church’s pastor. Here are the victims:

  • State Senator Clemeta Pinckney, Emanuel AME's pastor and a popular community activist/civil rights leader
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, high school coach for girls track and field and Reverend at Emanuel AME Church
  • Tywanza Sanders, a 2014 graduate from Allen University
  • Cynthia Hurd, 31-year employee of Charleston County Public Library
  • Myra Thompson, wife of Rev. Anthony Thompson from Holy Trinity REC Church in Charleston
  • Ethel Lee Lance, grandmother and church worker for over 30 years
  • Susie Jackson, cousin to Ethel Lee Lance [Mashable]

5) U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters that the Department of Justice is investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Emanuel AME is considered one of the oldest historically black churches in the country, originally founded nearly 200 years ago by worshippers fleeing racism. Later, it was burned to the ground for being linked to a thwarted slave revolt. For many, it was a symbol of black freedom. [Washington Post]

6) Today (Jun. 18), President Obama made a statement about the Charleston shooting, highlighting both its prominence in African American history and hinting at the need for gun control reform. “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,” he said. “Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.”

7) Celebrities such as Talib Kweli, Zendaya Coleman, Michelle Williams, John Legend, Bruno Mars, Ava DuVernay, Solange and more have all expressed their disgust at the violence and prayers and support for the city of Charleston. “They say pull your pants up, go to church,” Kweli said. “These people were at church. It don't get more respectable than that. STILL murdered. Now what?” [Billboard]

8) Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, called for a prayer vigils in various towns in South Carolina. "While we all have heavy hearts today we join with Bishop Richard Norris, calling on everyone to unite in prayer," she said. [Facebook]

9) Right before he was killed, Tywanza Sanders—the youngest victim of the shooting—shared a SnapChat story of the doomed Bible study session. The video shows what looks like the top of Dylann Roof's head sitting beside one of his victims. [Mashable]

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Charleston Police Department

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