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Dylann Roof, 21, is accused of fatally shooting nine people during a Bible study at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Charleston on Wednesday night, ripping out a piece of South Carolina's civic heart and adding to the ever-growing list of America's racial casualties.
Police captured Roof in Shelby, North Carolina, after a motorist spotted him at a traffic light on her way to work. His apprehension ended an intense, hours-long manhunt. He was charged with nine counts of murder and one charge of weapon possession during the commission of a violent crime.
The victims included a state senator who doubled as the church's minister, three other pastors, a regional library manager, a high school coach and speech therapist, a government administrator, a college enrollment counselor and a recent college graduate — six women and three men who felt called to open their church to all.
President Barack Obama called the tragedy yet another example of damage wreaked in America by guns. View statement published in video by PBS NewsHour.
Relatives of victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, attended a bond hearing for confessed gunman Dylann Roof, where CNN captured their remarks that reflected their faith in words of forgiveness.
“We are the family that love built,” said Bethane Middleton-Brown, the sister of the Rev. Depayne Middleton, 49 years old, who was one of the nine people killed in Wednesday’s mass church shooting in Charleston. “We have no room for hate, so we have to forgive,” she said. View Video.
NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said "there is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people." Others bemoaned the loss to a church that has served as a bastion of black power for 200 years, despite efforts by white supremacists to wipe it out.