South Carolina state Rep. William Chumley (R) on Wednesday apologized for comments he made suggesting that the victims in the Charleston shooting may have been able to do more to defend themselves.
“These people sat in there, and waited their turn to be shot,” Chumley told CNN in a Tuesday interview. “That’s sad. But somebody in there with the means of self defense could have stopped this. And we’d have had less funerals than we’re having.”
When pressed for clarification at the time, Chumley asked, “Why didn’t somebody just do something?”
On Wednesday, Chumley apologized and said that he did not intend to blame the nine victims.
“I deeply regret using those words and giving that impression,” he said in a statement, according to The Post and Courier. “My view, which I was clumsily trying to express, was that it is painfully regrettable that someone was not able to intervene in this demented killer’s life to stop him right up to the moment he squeezed the trigger.”
“Please let me be clear: The responsibility for the despicable murders in Charleston rests solely on the murderer,” he continued. “If any of my remarks suggested differently, I am deeply sorry.”