Police are seeking a suspect after nine people were shot and killed at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S. C., tonight. Eight people were killed inside the church and another victim died in an ambulance in what Police Chief Greg Mullen described as a “hate crime.” The shooting took place at about 9 p.m. E.T. at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a 150-year-old landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The gunman is still at large and police have described the suspect as a slender white male, about 21-years-old, wearing a gray sweathshirt or hoodie, blue jeans and Timberland boots, according to police spokesman Charles Francis.
The church is one of the oldest and largest black congregations south of Baltimore, according to its website.
A bomb threat was later reported near the church, but is no longer an issue, Mullen confirmed. Police have not identified the victims, but Democratic member of the state Senate and church pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney was reportedly among the victims, according to NBC. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hailey issued a statement early Thursday, asking people to “please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.” Read more at Charleston Post and Courier.