[Watch Video]President Barack Obama plans to make a statement on the South Carolina shooting at the White House at about 11:45 a.m. Thursday. We will livestream above.
Police have arrested 21-year-old Dylann Roof in the Wednesday evening shooting at a historic African-American church in South Carolina that left nine people dead.
The FBI earlier Thursday identified Roof as the suspect, and Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen confirmed that he was arrested at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, later that day.
Police received a phone call at about 9:05 p.m. Wednesday that a gunman had opened fire in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people. “We believe this is a hate crime, that is how we are investigating it,” said Mullen at a Thursday morning news conference.
The suspect, whose image was captured on surveillance video, was believed to have entered the Emanuel AME Church between 8 and 9 p.m. and stayed there during a prayer service before opening fire.
In a statement posted on the NAACP’s website, President and CEO Cornell Brooks said, “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. … There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.” Police have set up an assistance center for the families of the six men and three women who were killed. One of those killed was the church’s pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, a father of two who started preaching at the age of 13 and became a pastor at 18.
“Today this community is going to provide the best example of coming together to help those grieving,” said Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley at a news conference. “We will work to heal them, love them and support them and that church as long as we live.”
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