A white man attacked the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – one of the nation’s oldest and most prominent African-American churches – killing nine people.
The gunman who still remains at large carried out the attack during a Bible study session being held in the church which is located in Charleston, South Carolina.
According to the church’s website, Emanuel AME Church — often referred to as ‘Mother Emanuel’ — is the oldest AME church in the south and has one of the largest black congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland. The church played an important role in the state’s history, including the slavery era and the Civil Rights movement.
“This is a hate crime,” Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said early Thursday near the scene at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Among the victims was the church’s pastor.