Charleston, South Carolina, Mayor Joe Riley confirmed that nine fatalities in a mass shooting at a historic African-American church on Wednesday night. The suspected shooter, Dylann Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.
"This is an unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy in this most historic church, an evil and hateful person took the lives of citizens who had come to worship and pray together," Riley told the Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina.
Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis said the shooting occurred at the Emanuel AME Church around 9 p.m. local time (0100 GMT). The victims included six women and three men. One of those killed was Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor and a Democratic member of the state Senate.
Talking to reporters, Police Chief Greg Mullen said he will be investigating the incident as a “hate crime."
BREAKING: Charleston police chief says he will investigate shooting at black church as hate crime— The Associated Press (@AP) June 18, 2015