BALTIMORE, MD: On Wednesday, June 17, nine parishioners where shot at Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina – the oldest AME church in the South. The shooter is described as a White man in his twenties and remains at large.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen and Mayor Joe Riley have described the incident as a hate crime.
AME Church Elder Rev. Norvel Goff asks for prayers for the families and stands with the police in finding justice for these hate crimes. In light of these developments, the NAACP has released the following statement from Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:
“The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred, and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime.
“Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church. The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night Bible study.
“There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture. Today, I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP.
“The NAACP South Carolina State Conference and Charleston Branch have been working on the ground with police and the community to bring this case to a close. We remain vigilant while the local police and FBI investigate this hate crime and bring the shooter to justice.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.