People express heartache, outrage as they mourn shooting victims

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June 20, 2015

Sister Mary Thecla of the Daughters of St. Paul prays outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. June 19. Two days prior, nine people were murdered during a Bible study session at the church. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters) See TRAGEDY-SHOOTING UPDATED June 19, 2015.

Sister Mary Thecla of the Daughters of St. Paul prays outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. June 19. Two days prior, nine people were murdered during a Bible study session at the church. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The tragic taking of nine lives at a historically black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, brought an outpouring of solidarity, compassion and sorrow from around the country.

After an all-night search, police June 18 found the white man suspected of fatally shooting nine people, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a senior pastor. They arrested 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof in neighboring North Carolina and charged him with the murders. He did not fight extradition so he was returned to South Carolina.

Witnesses said Roof had joined a prayer meeting the evening of June 17 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. They said he sat with church members for about an hour then stood up, yelling racist remarks, and opened fire.

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