CHARLESTON, SC –Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott and the NAACP have released statements on the Charleston shooting at Emanuel AME Church downtown Charleston, that left 9 dead on the night of Wednesday, June 17. Gov. Haley said, “Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. 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. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”
Senator Scott said, “My heart is breaking for Charleston and South Carolina tonight. This senseless tragedy at a place of worship – where we come together to laugh, love and rejoice in God’s name – is absolutely despicable and can never be understood. Tonight we stand together in prayer for Pastor Pinckney and his congregation at Emanuel AME , and for the families who are enduring unimaginable pain at the loss of their loved ones. We will come together as a city and as a state to lift up those who need us most right now. I hope for their sake, and for the people of Charleston, that the perpetrators of this terrible crime are swiftly brought to justice.”
In a press release, the NAACP said: “On Wednesday, June 17th, nine parishioners where shot at Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina — the oldest AME church in the South. The shooter is described as a white man in his twenties and remains at large. Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen and Mayor Joe Riley have described the incident as a hate crime. AME Church Elder Rev. Norvel Goff asks for prayers for the families and stands with the police in finding justice for these hate crimes. In light of these developments, the NAACP has released the following statement: From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:
“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.”
The South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus issued a statement on the Charleston shooting as well: “Senator Harvey Peeler, Majority Leader, on behalf of the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus: “I and all of my colleagues in the Senate are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Senator Pinckney. He was a talented and well respected Senator who represented the people of his church, his community and his state with great character and a servant’s heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, Jennifer, Eliana and Malana, as well as the other victims’ families.”
SC House Speaker Jay Lucas issued a statement regarding the death of Senator Clementa Pinckney. Lucas said, “As a loving father, husband and dedicated public servant, Clementa Pinckney was a man of honor and sought to make a difference in the lives of others. Having served with him for a short time in the South Carolina House and continuing our friendship after his move to the Senate, Clementa held firm to his convictions and his integrity was a direct reflection of the love he shared for Christ. Senator Pinckney’s calming presence will be missed in Columbia and across South Carolina, but I am certain his legacy will live on. Tracy and I extend our thoughts and heartfelt prayers to Clementa’s family, the victims and their families of this act of violence, the Emanuel AME congregation and the Charleston community as we begin to heal from this senseless tragedy.”
Lt. Governor Henry McMaster released this statement on Senator Clementa Pinckney that said, “Senator Clementa Pinckney embodied the greatness and virtue of South Carolina. He was among the finest of men. He touched many lives. We pray that the families, loved ones, and friends of all the victims of this senseless tragedy find some peace in knowing that the entire state grieves with them.”
U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate, Lindsey Graham made the following statement on the shooting. “Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Charleston. We are all heartbroken by this tragedy. To the families of the victims, please know that you are being prayed for and loved by so many in the community and across the nation. I pray that God will provide you healing in the coming days. There are bad people in this world who are motivated by hate. Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by the individual who perpetrated these horrible acts. Our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken.”
Charleston mayoral candidate John Tecklenburg released the following statement on the horrific shootings at Emanuel AME Church: “Words cannot express the heartbreak that Sandy and I are feeling today. For almost 200 years, Mother Emanuel AME Church has been a sanctuary of peace and love in our community, a place where men and women of faith have come together for prayer and fellowship in good times and bad. Last night, that sanctuary was desecrated by an act of pure evil that took the lives of nine of our fellow citizens, including my friend, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. But that single evil act, horrific as it is, does not define us. We are not a city of hate. We are a city of tolerance and peace and love. And in the hours ahead, as our entire Charleston family comes together to support the victims of this terrible tragedy, the world will see a city united in prayer and common purpose, as we grieve for the good people of Mother Emanuel AME, and seek justice for the heinous crime that’s been committed not just against them, but against us all.”
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) issued the following statement in response to the tragic shooting that occurred at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Rick Santorum said: “The tragic and senseless murders that occurred in the sanctuary of Emanuel AME Church were the acts of pure evil. To kill in a place of peace and in the House of the Lord is revolting and cowardly. My wife Karen and I extend are deepest sympathies to the victims of this despicable horror. We pray for the victims and for their families to find peace, solace, and comfort during this difficult time. And we pray for law enforcement and the entire Charleston community as they come together through the ties that bind them together.”
The Family of Walter Scott issued the following statement: We were shocked and saddened to learn of the horrific tragedy that unfolded last night at the historic Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families of the victims. We are thankful that the individual accused of carrying out this horrific act has been apprehended. It is our hope that justice will come swiftly.
SC State Extends Condolences to Emmanuel A.M.E. Church and Charleston Community – The South Carolina State University family joins the nation in utter disbelief and overwhelming sympathy as we mourn the deaths of those brutally killed in a shooting at the historic Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The lives of the church’s Pastor and state Senator Clementa Pinckney and eight of his members were tragically ended by a lone gunman who remains at large. As I reflect sadly on the events of the past hours, I am reminded of the deep and common ties between historically black colleges and universities and the historically black African Methodist Episcopal Church. Many of our HBCUs were begun as the result of the church creating a place where freed men and women could go and be educated and become viable productive citizens. Since the beginning, the two entities have remained closely knit. So today, as the historically black church hurts, the historically black college or university hurts. Our deepest heartfelt condolences are extended to the families of the victims and to the Charleston community. – Dr. W. Franklin Evans President SC State University
Hillary Clinton remarks on Charleston shooting – “Before I begin, I want to say a few words about the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. I was in Charleston yesterday. I went to a technical school-Trident Tech-where I met with young people who are serving apprenticeships. It was such a positive, upbeat, optimistic event. So many of those young people were for the first time seeing what they could do and being paid for doing it. The administration and faculty of the school was so proud. The businesses that were employing the diverse group of apprentices were getting their money’s worth. And I left feeling not only great about Charleston, but great about America. When I got to Las Vegas, I learned about the horrific massacre in the church. You know the shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep. Nine people-women and men-cut down at prayer. Murdered in a house of God. It just broke my heart. That of course is the last place we should ever see violence. We shouldn’t see it anywhere. In the days ahead we will once again ask what led to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns, and division. Today, we join our hearts with the people of Charleston and South Carolina-people everywhere-who pray for the victims, who pray for the families, who pray for a community that knows too much sorrow. And we pray for justice. That the people of Charleston find peace and that our country finds unity. The church where these killings took place is known as Mother Emanuel. And like any mother, it holds its flock close. Today is a day to hold each other even closer. More than fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told the families of the girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, “You do not walk alone.” Today we say to the families of Mother Emanuel and to all the people of Charleston, “You do not walk alone.” You do not walk alone because millions of Americans-regardless of race or creed or ethnicity or religion-are walking with you. In grief. In solidarity. In determination. We are with you. And we stand with you as we seek answers and take action. How many innocent people in our country-from little children, to church members, to movie theater attendees-how many people do we need to see cut down before we act? So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity, we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence. This time we have to find answers together. I pledge to you, I will work with you-those of you who are local officials, those of you who are thinking hard about your own communities. Let’s unite in partnership, not just to talk, but to act.”