9 Killed in Charleston Church Shooting
White suspect sought after attack on historic Charleston church
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2015 10:43 PM CDT
Updated Jun 18, 2015 12:15 AM CDT
Worshippers gather to pray in a hotel parking lot across the street from the scene of a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, SC.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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(Newser) – Police are looking for a white suspect after nine people were killed in a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, SC. Charleston police chief Greg Mullen says eight people died in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and another died later in a hospital, the Guardian reports. The Post and Courier describes the church as the "South's oldest black congregation south of Baltimore." Police describe the suspect as a "clean-shaven white man in his 20s" and say he is still at large, CNN reports. Officers briefly detained a man matching the suspect's description but he turned out to be a photographer, the Guardian reports.

State Sen. Clementa Pinckney is the church's pastor and he is believed to have been inside at the time of the shooting, the Post and Courier reports. Fellow Sen. Marlon Kimpson says he is praying for Pinckney and for "our Mother Emanuel AME church." "I ask the nation to keep Charleston in our prayers," he says. At the scene of the shooting, barriers have been put up and police have asked people to stay back because of a possible bomb threat, the Guardian reports. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told reporters that while the motive is unknown, 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."