9 killed in shooting in historic black church in US, 'Hate Crime,' Say Police

9 killed in shooting in historic black church in US, 'Hate Crime,' Say Police
At least nine persons were killed today when an unidentified gunman opened fire inside a historic black church in Charleston in the US state of South Carolina, whose governor is Indian-American Nikki Haley.

Eight persons died inside the church, while another one was declared dead at a hospital.
The police is searching for a suspect. "We're still gathering information so it's not the time yet for details," Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

"I will say that this is an unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy in this most historic church, an evil and hateful person took the lives of citizens who had come to worship and pray together," he said in a statement.

A meeting was going on at the time of the shooting at the church at around 9 PM local time. South Carolina Governor Haley said her family was praying for the victims and families touched by the senseless tragedy.

It is one of the worst mass shootout in the history of the State. "While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another," she said in a statement.

"Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers," she added. The police said it is looking for a clean-shaven slender white male in his 20s.
No information has been released yet about the victims.

A man was later seen being led away by police officers, but it was unclear whether he was the suspected gunman. Helicopters were seen hovering above the area.

The 19th Century Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the oldest in the US. Denmark Vesey - one of the church's founders - was a leader of a failed slave revolt in 1822.
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