Charleston church to reopen after deadly shooting

Historic church in US state of South Carolina, where nine people were killed, set to reopen for Sunday service.

A police affidavit released on Friday accused Dylann Roof of shooting the nine victims multiple times [Getty Images]
A police affidavit released on Friday accused Dylann Roof of shooting the nine victims multiple times [Getty Images]

An historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine black people were killed when a white man opened fire during a Bible study, will reopen on Sunday.

Arriving from around the US on Saturday to pay respects to those killed, mourners created makeshift memorials as a small step toward healing from the latest US mass shooting.

Cleaning crews worked at the church on Saturday and church members announced they will hold a Sunday service.

Harold Washington, 75, was with the small group that saw the lower-level room where the victims were shot.

“They did a good job cleaning it up, there were a few bullet holes around but what they did, they cut them out so you don’t see the actual holes,” he said.

He said he expected an emotional service on Sunday, and a large turnout.

Outside the church, the oldest African-American congregation in the southern US, bouquets, bears and balloons covered the sidewalk while hundreds of people lined up to mourn, sing hymns and leave memorials.

RELATED: FBI reviews purported US church attacker’s manifesto

One of the victims, Senator Clementa Pinckney will be buried on Friday. The funeral will be held at TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus, a funeral home spokesman confirmed the details to The State newspaper.

The FBI said it was investigating a manifesto purportedly written by the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof.

The website linked to Roof contained photos of him holding a burning American flag and standing on one.

In other images, he was holding the Confederate flag representing the pro-slavery South in the American Civil War, considered a divisive symbol by many.

Roof is being held in jail, facing nine counts of murder and a weapons charge.

Events to show solidarity after the church massacre were planned throughout Charleston on Sunday and beyond [Getty Images]

A police affidavit released on Friday accused Roof of shooting all nine multiple times, and making a “racially inflammatory statement” as he stood over an unidentified survivor.

Six of the victims were women and three were men.

Demonstrators are expected to march through downtown Charleston on Sunday evening. They will be holding signs reading: “Still We Rise”, and “Stop White Terrorism.” 

Meanwhile, there are growing calls for the removal of a Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse.

A Republican state legislator says he’ll introduce a bill in December to move the flag and pole to a state military museum.

A large crowd rallied in Columbia today to protest against the presence of the flag, calling it a symbol of hatred, not heritage.

Messages at the church entrance covered white banners reading “God Bless”, or “Thank you Sen Rev Clementa Pinckney [Getty Images]
Source : News Agencies


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