South Carolina church shooting - Live - Live coverage - The Independent

South Carolina church shooting - Live

  • Welcome to The Independent's liveblog covering a fatal shooting at an historic church in South Carolina.
    6/18/2015 6:02:52 AM
  • Police are searching for a white male suspect following the shooting of at least 10 people at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
    6/18/2015 6:27:14 AM
  • Eight of the victims died at the scene of the shooting, while two others were rushed to hospital. One of those two later died.
    6/18/2015 6:29:08 AM
  • The victims have not yet been identified, but there are reports that South Carolina Senator and church pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was inside the church at the time of the shooting, may be among the dead.
    6/18/2015 6:29:51 AM
  • Police are looking for a 21-year-old white male described as slim-built, clean-shaven, with sandy hair, wearing a grey hoodie, blue jeans and Timberland-style boots.

    City police chief Gregory Mullen told reporters the incident was being treated as a "hate crime".

    He also confirmed that the shooting was reported hours after a bomb threat was called into the church.

    “He is, obviously, extremely dangerous,“ Mr Mullen said.
    6/18/2015 6:30:50 AM
  • Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley said: "This is the most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy.

    “People in prayer, coming together, praying and worshipping God, to have an awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable, obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible.”
    6/18/2015 6:31:07 AM
  • The shooting occurred at around 9pm local time (1am GMT), while a Bible study meeting was taking place inside the church, the Charleston Post and Courier reported.

    There were reports that the gunman had been attending the prayer meeting when the shooting took place, though this was not confirmed.
    6/18/2015 6:33:16 AM
  • The Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, had been due to appear in Charleston for an event on Thursday morning.

    In a short statement, his campaign team confirmed that the appearance had been cancelled in the wake of the shooting.

    "Governor Bush's thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by this tragedy," his team said.
    6/18/2015 6:35:14 AM



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  • 6/18/2015 6:43:34 AM
  • In a statement, state Governor Nikki Haley has asked people in South Carolina to pray for the victims and their families and decried violence on religious places. 

    "While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another," Haley said. 
    6/18/2015 6:47:35 AM
  • Soon after Wednesday night's shooting, a group of pastors huddled together praying in a circle across the street. 

    Community organiser Christopher Cason said he felt certain the shootings were racially motivated. 

    "I am very tired of people telling me that I don't have the right to be angry," Cason said. "I am very angry right now.
    6/18/2015 6:48:02 AM



  • 6/18/2015 6:49:44 AM



  • 6/18/2015 6:49:48 AM


  • 6/18/2015 7:03:55 AM
  • A number of different sources, including the South Caroline legislative leader Todd Rutherford, have said that state senator Reverend Clementa Pinckney was among those killed.

    There is still no confirmation yet from police, however.




    6/18/2015 7:26:22 AM
  • The pastor and state senator feared dead in Charleston shooting 'preached from age 13'

    The IndependentThe South Carolina state senator and prominent pastor Reverend Clementa Pinckney is feared dead in the mass shooting at an historic church in Charleston.
    6/18/2015 7:26:34 AM
  • ABC News is reporting that a five-year-old child was present in the church at the time of the shooting, and survived by playing dead.

    Police have previously said that there were "a number" of survivors, but declined to give further details. At least two people were taken to hospital in the immediate aftermath of the attack, one of whom died.
    6/18/2015 7:30:52 AM
  • Latest news on the police manhunt for the suspected shooter now, with reports from the ground saying the gunman is still at large.

    Officers with dogs are searching the streets for the suspect, whom police described as a 21-year-old white man with sandy hair wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and boots.

    There has nonetheless been some criticism of police in the wake of the shooting, with suggestions that more could be done to prevent the suspect escaping.





    6/18/2015 7:33:49 AM



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  • 6/18/2015 7:41:27 AM
  • Tim Brown, a member of Emanuel AME since 1989, praised the Reverend Clementa Pinckney for the way he has led the church with a combination of sound business practice and spiritual guidance. "He's moved us forward in his thinking," Brown said.

    Various sources have reported Rev Pinckney to be among the victims of the shooting, including South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford.

    Asked how the church will move forward now, Brown said: "“I don't know. I honestly do not know. I'm praying we have a good spiritual leader there to help.
    6/18/2015 7:58:14 AM



  • 6/18/2015 8:17:38 AM
  • Austin Rich, a photographer who was arrested at the scene of the crime earlier - apparently because he matched the description of the suspect given out by police - issued a statement explaining what happened: 




    6/18/2015 8:24:38 AM
  • A five-year-old child played dead to survive the shooting at a church in Charleston

    The IndependentA five-year-old child survived the fatal mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina by pretending to be dead, it has been reported.
    6/18/2015 8:25:55 AM
  • The NAACP has issued an official statement in response to the shooting.

    Cornell William Brooks, the association's president and CEO, said:

    The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime.  Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church.  

    The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night bible study. There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.  

    Today I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP. 

    The NAACP South Carolina State Conference and Charleston Branch have been working on the ground—with police and the community to bring this case to a close.  We remain vigilant while the local police and FBI investigate this hate crime and bring the shooter to justice.


    6/18/2015 8:59:42 AM
  • The president of the Charleston NAACP, Dot Scott, has told the local Post and Courier newspaper that a survivor told family members the gunman let her live so she could tell others what had happened.

    She said the gunman first sat in the church before rising and opening fire, according to Scott.
    6/18/2015 9:44:18 AM
  • We're expecting an update on the hunt for the gunman shortly. Police have moved forward a press briefing that they say will be "about the suspect" to 6am local time - that's in about 12 minutes.
    6/18/2015 9:47:57 AM



  • 6/18/2015 9:49:37 AM
  • Police press briefing has begun in South Carolina:

    "We have obtained surveillance video of this suspect as well as of a suspect video.

    "This is a very dangerous individual and we would like the public's help to catch him as quickly as possible.

    "We want to identify this individual and arrest him before he can hurt anybody else."
    6/18/2015 10:03:07 AM



  • 6/18/2015 10:04:49 AM

  • South Carolina police chief Greg Mullen says they will be back with further details at 7am local time, and will be offering a reward for help capturing the suspect.
    6/18/2015 10:08:44 AM
  • New details on the man, as police search for a brown-haired individual standing at a height of around 5'9''.
    6/18/2015 10:09:22 AM
  • Police Chief Greg Mullen said he believed the attack at the Emanuel AME Church was a hate crime, and police were looking for a white male in his early 20s. Mullen said the scene was chaotic when police arrived, and the officers thought they had the suspect tracked with a police dog, but he got away. 

    "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," he said. 
    6/18/2015 10:15:13 AM


  • 6/18/2015 10:18:15 AM
  • Police also said the suspect left the scene in a distinctive four-door black sedan with visible licence plates, and said there was "no reason to suspect he is not in the Charleston area".

    6/18/2015 10:33:16 AM
  • Federal agencies including the FBI are assisting Charleston police with their hunt for the suspect. The number members of the public were urged to call with any information was 1-800-CALLFBI.
    6/18/2015 10:35:31 AM
  • According to the local Post and Courier newspaper, an emergency centre to care for the families of victims has been set up at the Embassy Suites Hotel, near the site of the shooting.

    Charleston officials said the centre would be staffed by victim services personnel from local, state and federal agencies, as well as the Charleston Coastal Chaplaincy.
    6/18/2015 10:57:29 AM
  • Greg Mullen is giving his second press conference of the morning.

    He has clarified that only one victim was taken to hospital last night, where they died. The total number of those killed is still nine as previously reported.

    "Of the victims, there are six males and three females that have died in this tragedy," he says.
    6/18/2015 11:04:31 AM
  • "This is a very dangerous individual, he should not be approached by anyone."

    "We do not want more people harmed trying to approach him or follow the vehicle if they see it"
    6/18/2015 11:06:07 AM
  • Mullen confirms what we reported earlier about the victims assistance centre.

    "I just wanted to say this - at the time this was called in, we had resources coming in from all over the east coast. We have more coming in.

    "We are not leaving any stone unturned. This tragedy we're addressing right now is indescribable.

    "No one in this community will ever forget this tragedy."
    6/18/2015 11:08:05 AM
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