Nine people were killed in a brutal act of violence at a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church Wednesday evening when a gunman opened fire during a prayer service in what police describe as a “hate crime.”
Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said eight people were found dead inside the church. Two other people were rushed to the hospital, where one died.
The victims included the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 41, a Democratic member of the state Senate.
Mullen said police were called on a report of a shooting at the church at 9:05 p.m., and when officers arrived there they found eight people dead and others injured. Two of the wounded were rushed to a hospital, and one of those victims later died, he said.
Investigators believe that “as far as we know right now” there was only one suspect in the shooting, which unfolded around 9 p.m. Wednesday, but they consider him to be armed and “extremely” dangerous.
After the incident, outside the Courtyard Marriott, down the street from the church, a group of pastors gathered to pray for the victims.
“We need that peace, Lord,” members of the prayer circle were heard saying. “We need that peace you talk about in your word,” they said.
A law enforcement source has confirmed that Dylan Storm Roof, aged 21 was taken into arrest after a suspicious vehicle was noticed in the Shelby area and the police were notified. A gun was found in the vehicle and the picture of the suspect that was released following the attack has been matched to Dylan Storm.