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American Family Association Calls for Prayer in Tragedy at South Carolina Church

Thursday, June 18, 2015 @ 4:47 PM

TUPELO, Miss.American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is praying for the congregation and community of the 180-year-old Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, where a gunman killed nine people, including the church’s pastor, 41-year-old Clementa Pinckney, who was the youngest African-American elected to the South Carolina legislature.

“All of us at American Family Association are shocked and horrified by this tragic shooting, and are praying for the congregation of Emanuel AME Church,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “This senseless and devastating tragedy is something no church family should ever have to endure. Hate crimes such as these are negatively impacting genuine attempts to unify the nation.

“We send our condolences and sympathies to the entire Charleston community,” Wildmon continued, “as well as to the family of this young, faithful and remarkable pastor and lawmaker. Our hearts also go out to the other eight victims and their families, including several active members of the church, a librarian, a recent college graduate, a high school coach and a retired pastor. These losses will be felt deeply.”

FOX News has reported that a 21-year-old suspect was captured near Shelby, N.C., more than 240 miles northwest of the crime scene. The alleged shooter had sat in the prayer service for an hour before opening fire around 9 p.m. last night.

The Charleston police chief said he feels sure the shooting was a hate crime. The Department of Justice, which will ultimately make that determination, said it is opening a hate crime investigation, FOX reported.

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