Another tragic event has taken place in America this week that is said to be one of the most vengeful hate crimes this year. In Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night, June 18, 2015, nine members of the most historical African American Episcopal Church in the South fellowshipped and prayed as a 21 year old white man by the name of Dylan Roof (pronounced the same as the word “cough”) walked into the church and asked for Pinckney before sitting next to him for an entire hour during the prayer meeting. He began to shoot and even reloaded his weapon a total of five times, six women and three men were killed that night. There were three survivors whom were witnesses to the tragic incident. One witness even told authorities that when Roof was begged to stop by one of the men after reloading and continuing to fire his weapon, he stood and told them, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” He then stood up and told them that he was “there to shoot black people.”
Roof told one woman that he spared her life and even directly said to her, “I’m not going to kill you, I’m going to spare you, so you can tell them what happened.”
The names and ages of the victims are as follows:
Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.
Rev. Clementa Pinckney is known to have backed a bill asking to make body cameras mandatory for all police officers who serve in South Carolina. “Body cameras help to record what happens. It may not be the golden ticket, the golden egg, the end-all-fix-all, but it helps to paint a picture of what happens during a police stop,” Pinckney said in April.
Authorities arrested Roof on Thursday morning 245 miles away in Shelby, North Carolina. He was taken in to custody, without incident, after police received a call from a business regarding the possible sighting of the suspect. Authorities pursued his vehicle and stopped him at 10:44 a.m. He was armed with a weapon and the only passenger in the vehicle. Thursday, at his first appearance in court, Roof waived his extradition to South Carolina and was instead held in custody in Shelby, North Carolina.
President Obama is heartbroken by the tragedy and has sent out words of encouragement and prayers to the victim’s families, the church community and the entire city of Charleston. He commented, “Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening in a place in which we seek solace, we seek peace.”
Although devastated, the community has been standing strong and coming together on account of this tragic event. Authorities are shocked at the nature of the killings and the fact they took place inside of a church. “People in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person to come in and shoot them is inexplicable,” Mayor Riley said. Emanuel African American Episcopal Church has a lot of historical significance and started back as far as 1816. It has also been meeting place of civil rights activity for years. Although it has gone through the significant obstacles of being burnt to the ground then rebuilt, being destroyed by an earthquake, and even banned by the state, it is known as the largest African American church in Charleston today.
Is this REALLY what our country has come to? It almost seems that when one situation dies down that deals with our people being killed like animals, we are told to stay strong and not lose hope only for something much worse to happen. That man has…an indescribable and the most rotten and ugliest forms of hate anyone could ever have in their heart to actually walk into a church with a loaded weapon to shoot and end nine innocent people’s lives while they prayed and worshipped with hearts full of love for God. Not only did he have the hate to kill them, but to actually sit there for an entire hour, watching them pray and laugh and talk and then looking them in their eyes to pull the life from them. That could be NOBODY but the devil. What was he REALLY thinking that entire time that he sat there? Was there any type of voice in his head that could have possibly been telling him to leave and not to do it only to be ignored?
I believe this crime and his mug shot is one of the first ones to really just…chill me. The look on his face shows not one ounce of remorse and the comments said to the victims before he gunned them down only further makes me believe that he still sleeps like a baby at night. There is just one even scarier question and thought that I had after hearing the news. Why IS HE still able to even sleep like ANYTHING living..why is this guy still alive? He was ARMED and apparently pretty dangerous according to hmmm…twelve people, nine not being able to speak for themselves anymore. He fled the scene and APPARENTLY was not contemplating coming clean about it but just making a clean run for it, although he didn’t make it very far before being spotted. But I am pretty sure that if his skin was even ONE shade darker, he would have been gunned down in his car ON SIGHT. You mean to tell me he even had choices? He even is able to say that he wants to waive his extradition…how conveniently fancy. Yet you have people being gunned down and brutally beaten to death for walking down the street and being normal. That’s what I mean by what has this county come to! It also is crazy that in this current year of 2015, this man really is feeling like it’s ok to get rid of us and shoot us down in a CHURCH of all places because he feels we are taking over the county.
As African Americans, we should never have to worry about our lives feeling jeopardized in church, and I will definitely say that we have the white race OBVIOUSLY terrified of us to where they feel they need to get rid of us. We are an AMAZING group of people and you can not really blame them for being afraid of a group of individuals they felt would never prosper.