A Sorrowful Good Morning.
The top story this morning is the shocking mass murder of 9 people in a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday. Authorities are calling it a hate crime. The shooter has not yet been caught, but surveillance photos of him and his care have been released.
Reuters reports: Manhunt follows attack on historic black South Carolina church.
Police in Charleston, South Carolina, were searching for a white gunman on Thursday who killed nine people in a historic African-American church, in an attack that police and the city’s mayor described as a hate crime.
The shooter, a 21-year-old white man with sandy blond hair, sat with churchgoers inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for about an hour on Wednesday before opening fire, Police Chief Gregory Mullen said.
The victims included Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a Democratic member of the state Senate, his cousin and fellow state senator, Kent Williams, told CNN.
The gunman is extremely dangerous, Mullen said, and police did not have a sense of where he might be.
“This is an unfathomable and unspeakable act by somebody filled with hate and with a deranged mind,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told reporters.
Six females and three males died in the attack, Mullen said.
More from The Washington Post: 9 dead in ‘hate crime’ shooting at historic African American church in Charleston.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Police widened the search Thursday for a gunman who opened fire and killed nine people during a prayer service at a historic African American church in downtown Charleston, in one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the United States in recent memory.
At least one other person was injured in the Wednesday night assault, which began about an hour after the assailant entered the church and observed the service, authorities said.
“We believe this is a hate crime; that is how we are investigating it,” Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at a dawn news conference.
What a horrible crime. I hope they catch this dangerous young man soon.
Officers in fatigues, some with dogs, said they were searching “near and far” for the gunman, described as a clean-shaven white male in his early 20s with sandy blond hair and a slight build. Police said he was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots. He is believed to be the only shooter.
At a nearby Embassy Suites, which was serving as an informal headquarters for church members, people began sobbing and screaming as they learned details about what had happened.
“We just left speaking to members of the families,” Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley (D) told reporters overnight. “It was a heartbreaking scene I have never witnessed in my life before.” ….
Though authorities did not release the names of the victims, the church’s pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who is also a South Carolina state senator, was missing after the shooting, and some members of the congregation feared the worst. Indeed, House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said Pinckney was among the dead, and friends started posting “RIP” condolences on social media.
The suspect was described as approximately 5-foot-9, wearing a sweatshirt with distinctive markings and Timberland boots, police said. Joining the search were the FBI and state law enforcement.
Police also said the car he was driving had a “very distinctive” license plate. Officials would not elaborate on the make and model of the car.
“This is an all-hands-on deck effort with the community and law enforcement,” Mullen said.
Police said they had set up a tip line — 1-800-CALL-FBI — advised the public to be alert and said to call 911 and not approach.
How many more of these mass shootings do we need to have before we do something to control access to guns in this country? This time it’s a hate crime too. If this isn’t terrorism, what is?
According to The Chicago Tribune, Rev. Clementa Pinckney had sponsored a bill to have police officers wear body cameras.
Pinckney 41, was a married father of two who was elected to the state House at age 23, making him the youngest member of the House at the time.
“He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should,” Rutherford, D-Columbia, said. “He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.”
The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston that sparked major protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area. The officer has been charged with murder, and the shooting prompted South Carolina lawmakers to push through a bill helping all police agencies in the state get body cameras. Pinckney was a major sponsor of that bill.
I’m feeling incredibly sad. I don’t know what else to say.
And now this from Raw Story: Shooter opens fire on church in Memphis hours after terrorist kills nine in Charleston.
During choir practice in Memphis, a gunman opened fire. A bullet remains lodged in the wall of the church, CBS reports.
As of press time, police are at the St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church on Pendleton Street making inquiries and collecting information. WREG reports officers were called to the scene at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday.
No one was injured during the shooting.
News of the Memphis shooting spread quickly on social media this morning, in a country grappling with this Wednesday’s shooting by a white man in Charleston, South Carolina whoopened fire in a black church and killed nine people.
Read some of the tweets at the link. And please be careful in Memphis, JJ.
I’m going to give you the rest of the news in a link dump. I have to rush around today, because I’m getting ready to leave for Indiana tomorrow to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. Her birthday was June 10, but we’re having a big party on the 27th. I have to get out there early to help get things organized.
The New York Daily News: Five-decade study links pesticide DDT to breast cancer.
The Washington Post: The $10 bill will soon feature a woman. But the debate is only beginning.
A racial incident involving police and black teenagers in Cincinnati: What really happened at Fairfield pool?
The New York Times: Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change.
New York Magazine: Roger Ailes’s Demotion Signals Power Shift Within Murdoch Empire.
CNN: Brian Williams expected to stay at NBC (but he won’t be a news anchor).
The Washington Post: Why Roger Goodell might be in tough spot on Tom Brady suspension.
CBS News: American Enterprise Institute finds Wells Report ‘deeply flawed.’ They found no evidence that the Patriots’ footballs were even deflated.
What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.