For many, bible study is a weekly gathering to acquire in depth knowledge of The Holy Bible. For members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church of Charleston, South Carolina, bible study took a turn for the worst on Wednesday evening as a lone gunman opened fire.
At approximately 8:00pm, Dylann Roof, the alleged suspect, entered the historic African American church. After spending nearly an hour seated in the sanctuary, the 21-year-old opened fire, killing nine before fleeing the scene. Of those fatalities was Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s Pastor and South Carolina’s State Senator.
According to Charleston Police Department, 13 people were inside the church at the time of shooting. Of those 13, three individuals survived including an unidentified woman who says she was let go by the gunman so that she could tell the story of what happened.
Surveillance footage shows the 5’9” suspect dressed in what is described to be a “distinctive sweatshirt”. He is believed to be driving a black Hyundai with the license plate, LGF330.
Greg Mullen, Chief of Charleston Police Department urges all to be on the lookout for Roof who is believed to be armed and very dangerous.
Emanuel A.M.E. Church has had historic significance in Charleston, South Carolina since its establishment in 1816. In 1962, the church was visited by Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today, Emanuel A.M.E. remains one of the largest churches in Charleston.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected and the entire city of Charleston, South Carolina.
ABC News reports that Dylann Roof, 21, has been taken into custody following a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, approximately 250 miles north of Charleston.