The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest churches in the United States of America, home to one of the largest black congregations, in Charleston, South Carolina, was also home at 21.00 on the night of Wednesday June 18 to a massacre when a white gunman burst into the church opening fire.
The perpetrator is described as a young, blond, white man of around twenty-one years of age. He entered the church at around nine o'clock on Wednesday night and started firing while the congregation was gathered for a Bible reading session. One of the victims was the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, State Senator, described by local sources as "beloved".
Eight people were found dead inside the Church, two were taken to hospital and one died.
There is a manhunt under way to find the gunman. Last April, Charleston was the scene of another crime much vaunted in the media, namely the shooting of Walter Smith by a white police officer, who fired eight bullets at him and is charged with murder.
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