A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime. The shooter remained at large Thursday morning and police released photographs from surveillance video of a suspect and a possible getaway vehicle. Police Chief Greg Mullen said he could not offer a make and model on the dark colored sedan because investigators were not certain about what is shown in the video. The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston that sparked major protests and highlighted racial tensions in the area. The officer has been charged with murder, and the shooting prompted South Carolina lawmakers to push through a bill helping all police agencies in the state get body cameras. Pinckney was a sponsor of that bill.
In a statement, Gov. Nikki Haley asked South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their families and decried violence at religious institutions.
Haley said "We'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another" .
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