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Charleston Church Shooting Suspect Identified By FBI

Nine people were shot and and killed in Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church. Authorities are investigating it as a hate crime.
Posted at 10:43 AM, Jun 18, 2015

Local police and the FBI are searching for this man in connection to a deadly shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina.

The suspect has been identified as Dylann Storm Roof by the FBI.

Nine people were killed in Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church is one of the nation’s oldest black congregations.

The Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Officials say the suspect spent an hour at a prayer group with his victims before opening fire.

A combined force of local and state police and the FBI are still looking for the suspected shooter. 

The investigation was complicated by a bomb threat that was reportedly called in during the incident, which forced police to evacuate the scene and the surrounding area. 

The shooting devastated the community.

"The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is out of hate. The only reason," Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

In a statement, the president of the NAACP said, "There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture."

This video includes Getty Images, theCity of Charleston Police Department and an image from Henry de Saussure Copeland / CC BY NC 2.0.