Charleston, South Carolina (CNN)A white man walked into a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and opened fire during a Bible study class, killing nine people Wednesday evening.
The suspect was still at large early Thursday morning. And the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South, is being investigated as a hate crime.
“The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.Eight churchgoers died at the scene; a ninth at a hospital, police said.
Our hearts go out to the victims in this crime and their families. An already heinous crime is made that much worse by the fact this vermin decided to go shoot up a bible study class in a church. At last report, the shooter is still at large. He’s described as a clean-shaven white man in his 20s, with a slender build and sandy blonde hair. Last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and boots.