WHITE SHOOTER, BLACK CHURCH, MULTIPLE FATALITIES, BOMB THREAT …
|| By FITSNEWS || Law enforcement and emergency vehicles are frantically responding to a deadly church shooting in downtown Charleston, S.C. And the terror could just be beginning as authorities are reportedly investigating a “suspicious device” said to be connected to the attack against one of the South’s oldest, most historic black churches.
The shooting occurred at around 9:00 p.m. EDT at the Mother Emanuel AME Church – the home church of veteran S.C. Senator Clementa Pinckney (Emanuel’s pastor). At least nine people are dead, sources tell FITS – although it’s not immediately clear if Pinckney is among the deceased.
Sources at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) tell FITS Pinckney and his sister were among those shot – although there was no immediate update on their conditions.
UPDATE: Both Pinckney and his sister have been confirmed dead.
The parishioners had gathered at the church for a mid-week Bible Study. The suspect reportedly walked into the room where the study was being held at around 8:00 p.m. – sitting with the group for over an hour before opening fire.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. EDT, Charleston police confirmed that a bomb threat had been called into the church – possibly by the gunman. Members of the media and other onlookers were ordered to move back from their positions outside of the building while police addressed the threat.
Multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – including the City of Charleston police department, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – are investigating the attack.
No word yet on the number of individuals wounded, although within minutes of the first shots ringing out the low hum of a warm summer’s evening in one of the nation’s most vibrant, historic cities was pierced again by the wailing sirens of dozens of police cars and ambulances screaming down its storied streets – with the whirring of helicopter blades in the skies above in search of the triggerman.
The alleged shooter was described by police as a white male in his early twenties. He was reportedly clean-shaven and of slender build, wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.
UPDATE: Police have released images of the alleged perpetrator.
The suspect was reportedly apprehended within two hours of the shooting following a massive police manhunt. But that turned out to be a false alarm … or more specifically a local photographer who happened to fit the description of the suspect.
As of this writing, the shooter remains at large …
Obviously there is no overstating what a terrible a tragedy this is … and our most heartfelt prayers go out to the families and friends of those killed or wounded during this attack.
Senseless slayings like this are exactly why we support capital punishment.
There’s also obviously no understating how much damage a racially charged rampage like this could do to South Carolina – especially in the aftermath of this year’s shooting of an unarmed black man by a white North Charleston, S.C. police officer.