JOEL WOODHALL | Courtesy Photo

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Nine people were killed Wednesday night due to open gunfire at a historic church, according to ABC News.

Lisabeth Brimley, a BYU-Idaho sophomore studying health psychology, said she has lived in Charleston for three years and she was upset to hear of the shooting.

“To murder is absolutely terrible, and to also perform the act in a place where people are trusting and should be safe is really sad,” Brimley said.

The event occurred during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and authorities consider it a hate crime, according to CNN.

Among the nine confirmed dead were six females and three males, one of whom was the pastor of the church, State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, according to The Boston Globe.

Three people survived the shooting, according to ABC News.

Sydney Manning, a media professional in Charleston, said it is terrible to see things like this still happen.

“They’re calling it a hate crime, but it’s terrorism,” Manning said.

The gunman told one female survivor he would spare her so she could tell others what happened, according to CNN.

The female survivor said the gunman sat next to Pastor Pinckney during the church meeting, according to The New York Times.

Authorities identified the alleged criminal as Dylann Storm Roof, according to CNN.

Roof sat in on the meeting for an hour before opening fire on the worshippers, according to ABC News.

“Police say the alleged gunman was wearing a distinctive sweatshirt, Timberland boots, and was driving a car with an unusual front license plate,” according to ABC News.

Roof, 21, was taken into police custody Thursday morning, according to The New York Times.

He was located about 200 miles away in Shelby, North Carolina, after a resident notified police of a suspicious vehicle, according to The New York Times.

Manning said Charleston residents gathered together for vigils and prayers on Thursday.

“Charleston, for the most part, doesn’t riot, but they gather,” Manning said.

Manning said the Latter-day Saint ward she attends in Charleston asked its members to fast and pray with the people of Charleston in mind on Sunday.

Joel Woodhall, a resident of Charleston and a writer for The (Charleston) Chronicle, said the city streets are normally full of people, cars and activity.

“The streets were actually calm and quiet,” Woodhall said. “The streets were filled with prayer.”

Woodhall said the streets of Charleston near Emanuel AME church are open again and there is a memorial nearby where people are laying flowers.


JOEL WOODHALL | Courtesy Photo