The suspect in the Wednesday night mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, which left nine people dead including a state legislator, has been apprehended by police, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old white male, has been identified as the suspect in the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. He was apprehended by law enforcement after a 14-hour manhunt.
One of the survivors of the massacre said the gunman said: "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go."
The church's pastor and South Carolina state senator, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, was among the nine people fatally shot in the attack, which occurred during a prayer meeting.
In remarks at the White House, President Barack Obama said, "To say that our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn't say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel." The president also made note of the frequency of mass shootings during his presidency.
"I've had to make statements like this too many times," Obama, who personally knew the fallen pastor, lamented. "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other developed countries."
Illinois Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Andrea Zopp issued these comments about the mass shooting:
On this sad day I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those slain at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina. This was an unspeakable act of evil at a church that has stood as a beacon of faith for 200 years.
Too often in the past year we have read of the slaughter of innocents -- be they Jews in Kansas, Sikhs in Wisconsin or Muslims in North Carolina. While each instance targeted a different set of victims, each instance was inspired by out of proportion hate and fear.
We may not be able to change the heart of every person but as a nation we must come together to confront our problems head on: from keeping guns off our streets, to providing needed mental health services, to confronting racism and injustice wherever they arise.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, and to the beautiful city of Charleston.
Six women and three men were killed in the shooting at the church that is steeped in American history, having been burned down and rebuilt during slavery and is a recognized stop for all U.S. presidential hopefuls. Moments ago, local officials announced the identity of the victims in the deadliest attack in an American house of worship since 1991:
- Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41
- Tywanza Sanders, 26
- Cynthia Hurd, 54
- Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
- Myra Thompson, 59
- Ethel Lance, 70
- Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74
- Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
- Susie Jackson, 87