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'Holy City' Site Of Hate Crime After Church Shooting

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Posted at 7:29 AM, Jun 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 01:56:23-04

CHARLESTON, SC. - Nine people have been killed in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The site of what the Charleston Mayor described as an, “unthinkable tragedy,” is the Emmanuel AME Church. It’s on Calhoun Street in the heart of downtown Charleston. It’s the oldest AME church in the south.

The church has been described as the headquarters of the Civil Rights movement in Charleston in the 1960s. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the church during many of his appearances in the Holy City.

Speaking of that nickname, Charleston’s cityscape is filled with a countless number of spires. It’s known as the Holy City for that very reason. Mayor Joe Riley touched on that fact during an emotional news conference early Wednesday morning.

“To have a horrible, hateful person go into a church and kill people there to pray and worship with each other is something beyond comprehension,” Riley said.

Charleston has been the site of another tragic situation earlier this year. A North Charleston police officer, who was white, opened fire, shooting and killing an unarmed black man.

Charleston appeared to be different.

There were very few violent protestors in the streets. Instead, they were in churches, working together as a community to come up with solutions and praying for healing. That’s what was going on Wednesday night. Officials said the suspected shooter was inside of the church for an hour before shooting and killing those nine people.

The community will come together, the Mayor said.

“Charleston will work to heal them, love them and support them,” said Mayor Riley.

The Charleston County Coroner has yet to officially release the identities of those killed.

Three men and six women were killed. Three people inside the church were able to safely escape.