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

South Carolina church shooting - Live

    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

    6/18/2015 7:34:05 AM

    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
    Charleston mayor Joseph P Riley speaking now.

    Says this attack was the act of someone "with a deranged mind".

    "We will make sure he pays the price for this horrible act."
    6/18/2015 11:09:12 AM
    "Once he is caught, what we will do is we will put our arms around that church and that church's family.

    "This is a historic church, part of the fabric of our society here for a few hundred years. People come here to pray and help eachother. So what this community will do - you will see - an outpouring of love and kindness and assistance and help."
    6/18/2015 11:11:54 AM
    No leads on "specific location" for suspect, police chief Mullen says. "If we did have that we would be there right now."
    6/18/2015 11:14:06 AM
    Shooter stayed with prayer group "for almost an hour" before shooting began, Mullen reveals.
    6/18/2015 11:14:29 AM
    Police chief Mullen: "Our officers are tired but they are energised because they take this personally.

    "Someone going into one of our churches where people are praying and exercising their religious believes and murdering them... we're alright, we're going to get through it."
    6/18/2015 11:21:10 AM
    Mullen: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it is a hate crime. That allows us to work with federal investigators and prosecutors. And that gives us other options when we work towards prosecution."
    6/18/2015 11:22:07 AM
    There were three survivors from inside the church, Mullen says. Declines to comment on reports of the woman allowed to live by the gunman "so she could tell what happened", or on the reports of a five-year-old who played dead to survive.
    6/18/2015 11:23:59 AM
    The conference is over. It's now more than 10 hours since the shooting and, as police chief Mullen said, officers still have no strong leads on a specific location for the gunman.
    6/18/2015 11:32:46 AM

    6/18/2015 11:44:05 AM
    Police have said that while they have some clearer photos and video footage of the suspect and what is believed to be his car, they have no further details on the make and model of the "four-door black sedan" because investigators were not certain about what is shown in the video.
    6/18/2015 11:51:18 AM
    None of the victims have yet been officially named but some people believed to be relatives have been reacting to news of the death of their loved ones on social media.
    6/18/2015 12:09:17 PM
    She's gone... They killed my grandmother...

    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 12:10:20 PM
    A lot of people on Twitter are calling for the shooting to be labelled an act of terrorism and contrasting the reaction to massacres where the perpetrators have been black or Muslim.
    6/18/2015 12:12:37 PM
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