Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight churchgoers were murdered during a prayer service at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as “Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, South Carolina last night. The gunman remains at large. Neither the murderer nor the eight other victims have yet been identified by name. The Washington Post reports on the shootings here. The AP has posted a slightly more current story here.
The shooter appears on surveillance video. Charleston authorities have a good idea of his physical appearance and his age. He is identified as white and approximately age 21. The authorities have undertaken a manhunt to apprehend him.
The authorities have proclaimed the shooting a hate crime without more. They have not identified the hatred that they believe motivated the shooting. Whatever the murderer’s motivation, he is guilty of perpetrating horrendous crimes manifesting utter evil.
At the moment we can only pray: pray that the murderer is promptly apprehended, pray that the facts will be known, pray that justice is done for the murderer’s crimes, pray that the faith of the victims finds its reward, pray that the families of the victims find consolation in their faith and in the memories of their loved ones, and pray for our troubled country.