Mourners gathered on a hot Charleston, South Carolina, day at a church prayer service, honoring the nine people killed when a gunman opened fire at another church Wednesday night.
Buckets of ice water were handed out today to people as they gathered at Charleston’s Morris Brown AME Church for a noon memorial service to mourn the nine victims of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The inside of Morris Brown AME was packed today, from the ground level to the balcony level. An overflow room was even set up for people to watch on monitors.
Speakers included South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and local leaders.
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn received a standing ovation as he invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and talked about the “appalling silence of good people.”
“Please break your silence. Please speak up,” he said.
The mood alternated between somber and lively, particularly during upbeat hymns.
When the bishop of the church announced that the suspect had been apprehended, there were loud cheers and applause from the crowd.
As the vigil got quieter inside, you could hear a crowd outside singing, “This Little Light of Mine.”
Above: MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts broke down on air Friday while reporting live from Charleston, South Carolina, and the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, as a large crowd gathered and began singing gospel songs. The crowd gathered to sing just as the bond was being set for the accused killer.
Roberts said, “So you’re hearing from the family, and then this whole group of people showed up. And they’re singing a gospel song. …I apologize,” he said, stopping himself and trying to fight back tears. He was referring to several family members forgiving the gunman during his bond hearing.
“But you can see the outpouring of support for his community. It goes all the way down the street of people who showed up at the exact same time that this arraignment was going on,” he continued, amazed.
“I’m sorry,” he continued, and then could not go on. (Source: The Blaze, article by Jonathon M. Seidl, and edited by me.)
Mourners pray outside the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015, a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
Mourners gather in Charleston on Thursday, June 18, to pay tribute to the victims.
Hundreds on Thursday afternoon packed into Morris Brown A.M.E. Church, which is just blocks away from “Mother Emmanuel,” for an emotional prayer vigil. The church quickly reached capacity, and a large crowd gathered just outside its doors. – By Megan Specia.