CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Police are searching for a 21 year old white man who allegedly opened fire Wednesday evening on parishioners at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley has confirmed that nine died in the church.
The pastor of the church was inside for a service at the time of the shooting. But it was unclear if the shooting took place inside the church.
Police are saying on Twitter that they’re looking for an approximately 21-year-old white male.
An Associated Press reporter on the scene says police helicopters with searchlights are circling overhead in the area, and a group of pastors are kneeling and praying across the street.
The Emmanuel AME church is a historic African-American church that traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal church.
One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Parishioners worshipped underground until after the Civil War.
TPM contributed to this report.
This is a breaking news story and will be continually updated.