5 things to know about the S.C. church shootings

Posted at 11:51 AM, Jun 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-19 08:44:01-04

Friday update
On Friday morning, suspect Dylann Roof confessed to killing the nine people who died when he shot them inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday, June 17.

Thursday's events
The nation is mourning the loss of nine individuals killed when a gunman opened fire inside an historic black church the evening of June 17.

1. The nine people who died at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston are Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45 and Myra Thompson, 59.


2. The shooting happened in the church around 9 p.m. ET Wednesday evening, after Roof sat through a service there for about an hour before opening fire. Witnesses said he said he was there "to shoot black people," and a hate crime investigation has been launched. Roof had trouble with the law prior to the shootings, according to reports.

3. Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, told investigators he wanted to start a "race war," according to CNN.

4. Three people who were at the church during the shootings survived. Of the nine who died, one died at a hospital and the others died at the scene.

5. Emanuel AME Church has been in Charleston since 1816. According to CNN, the church has overcome several obstacles throughout time, including having burned to the ground and been rebuilt.


On Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke out about the incident, saying he's "had to make statements like this too many times." He said things like this happen when people who want to inflict harm have no trouble getting hold of a gun.