Nine people have been confirmed killed and numerous others were injured in a mass shooting at historic Emanuel AME Zion Church in Charleston, South Carolina:
Nine people were shot, some fatally, inside one of Charleston’s oldest and most well known black churches tonight. A bomb threat complicated the investigation and prompted police to ask nearby residents to evacuate.
Reporters and other onlookers huddled at the scene awaiting details on what could prove to be one of the worst mass shootings in South Carolina history.
Mayor Joe Riley confirmed there were fatalities.
“We’re still gathering information so it’s not the time yet for details,” he said. “I will say that 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.”
Rumors are rampant at this time, but all we known for certain is that there are multiple victims (most news outlets are presently claiming nine, though the Charleston Police have not confirmed that figure as of midnight), and of victims, there are a number of fatalities.
We also know that the police are seeking a 21-year-old clean-shaven white male as a possible suspect in the attack.
Suspect in shooting on Calhoun St is a w/m approx 21 slender small build wearing a grey sweat shirt blue jeans timberland boots clean shaven
— Charleston P.D. (@CharlestonPD) June 18, 2015
One man nearby was briefly detained, but was cleared of involvement by authorities.
We’ll update this story as more facts can be confirmed.
Update: Nine people have been confirmed killed in the attack. there are numerous injuries, but police are refusing to state precisely how many. We’ve updated the lede with that information.
As a legal matter, legal concealed carry in a church is an improbability in South Carolina, requiring “express permission” from the “appropriate church official or governing body.”