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CNN is reporting that a white man, in his early 20’s, walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church late Wednesday evening and shot and killed nine people.  The suspect, who is still at large, attended a Bible Study at the church with his eventual victims before opening fire and killing them in cold blood.

Police are treating the incident as a hate crime.   “The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

Of the nine victims, six were female and three were male.  Included in the fatalities is the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, according to WCSC.

Despite this horrific scene, residents haven’t lost faith.  They stood in prayer circles late into the night- calling for not only justice but for calm – and to not let this incident tear their community apart.

More at CNN.com

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