US SENATOR, 8 OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH MEMBERS KILLED BY A WHITEMAN - CVIEW NEWS

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

US SENATOR, 8 OTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH MEMBERS KILLED BY A WHITEMAN


The white gunman who allegedly shot dead nine people during a bible study meeting at an African-American church in South Carolina last night has been caught in North Carolina.
Dylann Storm Roof, who sparked an overnight manhunt after fleeing the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, was taken into custody during a traffic stop in Shelby just after 11am.
The 21-year-old was caught after a member of the public spotted his car and called cops to report ‘suspicious activity’, Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said. He was in the car and armed when he was approached by an officer but he was cooperative and taken into custody.
‘In America, we don’t let bad people like this get away,’ said Charleston Mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. at a press conference announcing the arrest.
On Wednesday, Roof, from Columbia, had allegedly entered the church and joined the bible study group before suddenly opening fire an hour later.
One survivor recounted how he reloaded his gun five times as he picked off his victims – killing three females and six males, including the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who is also a South Carolina state senator.
In custody: Dylann Storm Roof, 21, allegedly shot dead nine people in South Carolina last night. He is pictured left in an earlier mug shot and right in a jacket showing flags of apartheid-era South Africa and one from white-rule Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe
Stopped: Police can be seen around Roof's car in Shelby, North Carolina after he was found following a tip from a member of the public
Stopped: Police can be seen around Roof’s car in Shelby, North Carolina after he was found following a tip from a member of the public
Arrest: The suspected gunman was in the car when he was approached by an officer and had a weapon with him, police said
Arrest: The suspected gunman was in the car when he was approached by an officer and had a weapon with him, police said
Search: Police had released these CCTV images showing the suspect as they launched a massive search to find him
Pinckney’s cousin told NBC News that one of the survivors told her they had urged Roof to stop.
‘He just said: “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go”,’ Sylvia Johnson said.
Roof spared one woman so she could ‘tell the world what happened’, eye witnesses recounted, while a five-year-old girl also survived the attack after her grandmother told her to play dead. The gunman then fled.
Police launched a massive manhunt for Roof and released surveillance images showing him and his car, warning the public that he was dangerous. He was eventually caught on Thursday morning.
Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, told Reuters that his nephew had received a .45 caliber pistol as a birthday present in April. He called the 21-year-old ‘quiet, soft spoken’ and said he recognized him in the photo released by police.
In another photograph of Roof on Facebook, he is seen glaring at the camera while displaying the flag of apartheid-era South Africa on his jacket. He is also wearing another flag depicting that of white-rule Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe.
Court records show he was charged with a drugs offense in March 2015 and trespassing in April.
Police have since headed to the home of Roof’s mother, Cowles added.
Of the shooting, Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said: ‘We believe this is a hate crime – that is how we are investigating it.’
On Thursday, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have launched a hate crime investigation into the mass shooting, ABC reported. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies have joined the investigation, Mullen said.
Scene: The gunfire broke out at the 150-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night
Scene: The gunfire broke out at the 150-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night
Manhunt: A huge manhunt ensued with officers wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying guns
Manhunt: A huge manhunt ensued with officers wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying guns
Reverend Clementa Pinckney
Victim: The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, left and right, has been confirmed as one of the dead who was killed in the massacre
Scene of horror: Emergency personnel and investigators gather outside the church after the shooting on Wednesday night
Scene of horror: Emergency personnel and investigators gather outside the church after the shooting on Wednesday night
Victims: Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the church after news of the deadly shooting
Victims: Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the church after news of the deadly shooting

‘A GIANT AMONG MEN': PASTOR AND SENATOR WHO WAS SHOT DEAD

One of the dead has been confirmed as Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a pastor who recently led rallies after unarmed black man Walter Scott was shot dead by police two months ago.
The 41-year-old South Carolina native also played a key role in pushing for legislation for officers to wear body cameras by co-sponsoring a bill recently signed into law.
He began preaching at the age of 13, becoming a pastor at the age of 18.
He graduated from Allen University in 1995 before studying at Princeton, the University of South Carolina and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
He became the youngest ever African American elected to the legislature when he was just 23. He was elected as a state representative in 1996 before being voted on to the State Senate in 2000.
He was also named as one the African American community’s 30 leaders of the future in 1999 in Ebony magazine.
He is survived by wife Jennifer and two young daughters, Eliana and Malana.
His cousin, Kent Williams, said that Pinckney was devoted to his family.
‘He loved his family, took care of his family,’ he said. ‘Just a wonderful guy – what anybody would want in a father, and in a pastor and in a senator anywhere in this country.’
State House Minority leader Todd Rutherford added: ‘He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should. He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.’
State Senator Marlon Kimpson remembered Reverend Pinckney as ‘a giant’ and ‘a legend’.
‘He was the moral compass of the senate,’ he said.
The killer is believed to have entered the church around 8pm before taking part in the prayer group for about an hour, police said.
Although it is a black church, it would not be surprising to see a white person – or a person of any other race – attending a gathering there, Charleston’s NAACP President Dot Scott told CNN on Thursday.
Speaking in the NBC interview, Pinckney’s cousin said Roof had specifically asked for the reverend before sitting beside him throughout the meeting.
The Reverend Norvel Goff, a presiding elder for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, told the Washington Post that the suspect ‘walked in, from my understanding, not so much as a participant, but as a brief observer who then stood up and then started shooting’.
Police received the first call about the shooting shortly after 9pm.
Emergency responders found eight people dead inside the church, and one was taken to hospital where they later died, Mullen said on Thursday. Among the dead was Reverend and State Senator Pinckney. On Thursday, photos showed a black cloth placed over Pinckney’s seat in the South Carolina Senate.
Police said that survivors were also found inside the church.
Dot Scott of the NAACP told the Post and Courier that a female survivor told her family members that the gunman said she could escape. He said he was letting her live so she could tell the world what happened.
Meanwhile, family members who were being briefed by chaplains after the shooting reportedly said that a five-year-old girl survived the attack after she was told to play dead by her grandmother.
‘The tragedy that we’re addressing right now is indescribable,’ Mullen said on Thursday morning. ‘No one in this community will ever forget this night.
‘We are committed to do whatever is necessary to bring this individual to justice. We are not leaving any stone unturned.’
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr added: ‘This is an unfathomable and unspeakable act by somebody filled with hate and with a deranged mind.
‘We’re going to put our arms around this church… We’re going to find this horrible scoundrel.’
And speaking from the White House on Thursday afternoon, President Obama called the murders ‘senseless’.
‘Any death of this sort is a tragedy, any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy,’ he said. ‘There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening somewhere we seek solace and we seek peace.
‘Methodist Emanuel is in fact more than a church, this is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.’
He went on: ‘The fact that this took place in a black church also raises questions about a dark part of our history.’
He also spoke out about how the incident again signals the need for stricter gun control.
‘I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,’ he said. ‘Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.
‘We do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.’
A family assistance center has been set up in downtown Charleston for those who lost loved ones in the attack, authorities said.
Prayer Circle: Here, a group of several men are seen standing in a circle in front of a hotel near the church for an impromptu prayer service 
Tragedy: Local residents and church members embraced and consoled one another in the hours following the incident, the police chief described the incident as a 'senseless, unfathomable' tragedy 
Tragedy: Local residents and church members embraced and consoled one another in the hours following the incident, the police chief described the incident as a ‘senseless, unfathomable’ tragedy
Moved: US Congressman Jeff Denham (center) prays with Senator Chris Coons (2nd left) and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (left) in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC during a moment of silence for the victims on Thursday
Moved: US Congressman Jeff Denham (center) prays with Senator Chris Coons (2nd left) and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (left) in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC during a moment of silence for the victims on Thursday
Condolences: President Obama, beside Vice President Joe Biden, called the murders 'senseless' from the White House
Condolences: President Obama, beside Vice President Joe Biden, called the murders ‘senseless’ from the White House
Anger: He said it shows the need for gun control. 'Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,' he said
Anger: He said it shows the need for gun control ‘Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,’ he said
It has been suggested that the shooting was timed to coincide with two large political rallies in the city, as just hours before Rev Pinckney met with Hillary Clinton as part of her presidential campaign and Jeb Bush was also due to visit Charleston today but his appearance has now been canceled.
In a statement, the Bush campaign said: ‘Governor Bush’s thoughts and prayers are with individuals and families affected by this tragedy.’
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton tweeted: ‘Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all.’
Following the massacre, officers also investigated a possible bomb threat but several hours later gave the all-clear.
Shona Holmes, a bystander in the aftermath of the shooting, added: ‘It’s just hurtful to think that someone would come in and shoot people in a church. If you’re not safe in church, where are you safe?’
Local pastor Thomas Dixon told NBC News that a bible study session was likely underway at the time of the shooting. He said the church holds the sessions every Wednesday.
A heavy police presence remained outside the church and a helicopter was seen assisting law enforcement on the scene in the hours following the shooting, FOX reports.
‘The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,’ Mayor Riley added. ‘It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. … This is one hateful person.’
Speaking to CNN on Thursday, the slain pastor’s cousin, Kent Williams, expressed his shock at the nature of the killing.
‘It is devastating that someone would go into God’s house and commit such a crime,’ he said. ‘It is beyond my imagination, I can’t even comprehend this. It tells me that we can’t be safe anywhere… It is despicable.’
Loved: A photo from Thursday shows a black cloth placed over Senator Pinckney’s seat in the South Carolina Senate
Emotional: State Senator Vincent Sheheen gets emotional as he sits next to the draped desk of state Senator Clementa Pinckney
Emotional: State Senator Vincent Sheheen gets emotional as he sits next to the draped desk of state Senator Clementa Pinckney
Aftermath: The road outside the church is still cordoned off on Thursday as residents head to the scene to leave flowers, right
Tribute: Flowers for the victims of Wednesday's shootings, are laid near a police barricade in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Tribute: Flowers for the victims of Wednesday’s shootings, are laid near a police barricade in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday
Heartbroken: Martha Watson, left, and Tarsha Moseley embrace at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church on Thursday
Heartbroken: Martha Watson, left, and Tarsha Moseley embrace at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church on Thursday
The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston that sparked major protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area.
The officer in that case has been charged with murder, and prompted South Carolina lawmakers to push through a bill helping all police agencies in the state get body cameras.
In a statement, Governor Nikki Haley asked South Carolinians 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.
Soon after Wednesday night’s shooting, a group of pastors huddled together praying in a circle across the street.
Community organizer 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.’
Even before Scott’s shooting in April, Cason said he had been part of a group meeting with police and local leaders to try to shore up better relationships.
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 150-year-old church played an important role in the state’s history, including the slavery era and the Civil Rights movement.
Updated: Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen speaks during a news conference on Thursday as the search for the gunman continues
Updated: Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen speaks during a news conference on Thursday as the search for the gunman continues
Heartbreaking: Hillary Clinton tweeted to her millions of followers that news of the shooting was 'heartbreaking' and her 'thoughts and prayers' are with Charleston 
Heartbreaking: Hillary Clinton tweeted to her millions of followers that news of the shooting was ‘heartbreaking’ and her ‘thoughts and prayers’ are with Charleston
Statement: South Carolina issued this statement describing the shooting as a 'senseless tragedy' and saying she and others will 'never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another' 
Statement: South Carolina issued this statement describing the shooting as a ‘senseless tragedy’ and saying she and others will ‘never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another’

THE SIMMERING RACE RELATIONS AND THE HISTORY OF THE EMANUEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH 

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been at the center of tense race relations in South Carolina.
Charleston is known locally as ‘The Holy City’, due to its large number of churches and historical mix of immigrant ethnic groups that brought a variety of creeds to the city on the Atlantic coast.
The church was formed in 1816 when African-American members of the Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal Church formed thier own congregation.
It is one of the largest and oldest black congregations in the South, and was founded in part by a freed slave who was later executed for organizing a revolt, according to the U.S. National Park Service.
Six years after being set up, one of the church founders was implicated in a slave revolt plot. He wasn’t convicted. But during the case, the church was burned to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1834.
The congregation continued the tradition of the African church by worshipping underground until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, and the name Emanuel was adopted, meaning ‘God with us’.
The state’s endorsement of the Confederacy and slavery ran deep in the 1800s and, in more recent decades, white support for so-called ‘Jim Crow’ segregation laws kept black residents marginalized.The Confederate flag still flies on the grounds of the statehouse in Columbia.
The state was also at the center of the civil rights movement in the 1960s with Martin Luther King being a visitor to the church.
Unarmed black man Walter Scott, who was shot dead by a white police officer, pictured, in South Carolina last month 
Unarmed black man Walter Scott, who was shot dead by a white police officer, pictured, in South Carolina last month
Just two months ago, Reverend Clementa Pinckney attended rallies and services in support of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was shot dead by a white police officer, pictured above.
Mr Scott was fleeing a car after being pulled over by a traffic stop when he was fatally wounded by police officer Michael Slanger in nearby North Charleston.
Footage emerged of the officer firing eight times at Scott, provoking outrage and rekindled an ongoing national debate about the treatment of black suspects at the hands of white officers.
Slanger has now been charged with murder and is awaiting trial.
An analysis by The State newspaper in Columbia found that police in South Carolina fired their weapons at 209 suspects during a five-year period. Only a handful of those officers were accused of a crime and none were convicted, the paper found.

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