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Everytown, South Carolina Moms Respond to Mass Shooting in Charleston that Killed Nine

Lucy McBath, Mother of Jordan Davis and Everytown Faith Outreach Leader, Calls for Action to Prevent Gun Violence

Previous Everytown Research on Mass Shootings: everytown.org/mass-shootings

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Everytown for Gun Safety and the South Carolina chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown, are responding today to a Wednesday night mass shooting during a prayer meeting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that killed nine worshippers and injured an unconfirmed number of others. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator, was among those killed. The alleged gunman has not yet been identified or apprehended, but he has been described as a white male in his early twenties.

STATEMENT FROM LUCY MCBATH, MOTHER OF SLAIN FLORIDA TEEN JORDAN DAVIS AND EVERYTOWN FAITH OUTREACH LEADER

“We send our thoughts and prayers to the Charleston and AME communities today. Last night’s events bring me to tears, but I know all too well that we also need far more than thoughts and prayers to ensure no other community is forced to endure this unthinkable tragedy. America is faced with a unique national crisis in which we cannot even go to church—a sacred place where we should feel safe to worship—without the threat of gun violence. Unbelievably easy access to guns in our country emboldens dangerous and ill-intentioned individuals to carry out unthinkable crimes. This crisis calls for solutions that will reduce our nation’s alarming rate of gun violence that kills 88 Americans every single day. Our work to prevent gun violence can both respect the Second Amendment and honor the Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.”

STATEMENT FROM SYLVIE DESSAU, VOLUNTEER CHAPTER LEADER FOR THE SOUTH CAROLINA CHAPTER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION

“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims who were senselessly killed Wednesday night as they attended a prayer meeting. While the details are still unfolding, nine innocent lives were taken and others were injured as a result of last night’s horrific mass shooting. South Carolina needs to focus on keeping guns out of dangerous hands, which would help prevent future tragedies. It’s time we stand up for the safety of South Carolinians and work to reduce gun violence that continues to claim too many lives across the state.”

Additional Information About The Shooting

Incident:

At approximately 9:00PM on June 17, 2015, an unidentified white male in his 20s opened fire at an Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church prayer meeting during a bible study. He fatally shot six men and three women and injured an unidentified number of others. Among others, the shooter killed the pastor of the church and State Senator Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41, (D). The shooter allegedly sat down in the church before starting to shoot and told a woman sitting next to him that he was going to let her survive so that she could tell people what happened. During a press conference, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen stated that he believed the incident was a hate crime.

Statements:

Governor Nikki Haley: “Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight’s senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. 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. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers.”

Police Chief Greg Mullen: “This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience…It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives, and I can assure you that we’re going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him up and to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else.”

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley: “People in prayer Wednesday evening, a ritual, coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable. Obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible.” “The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate.”

Additional Information About Mass Shootings

This incident is one of at least 129 mass shootings that have occurred in America since 2009. A previously released report from Everytown provides a comprehensive analysis of mass shootings in America in which four or more people were murdered with a gun, a widely-used definition of mass shootings from the FBI. Contrary to claims that mass shootings take place in so-called “gun free zones”, Everytown’s research identified 18 mass shootings over a six-year period that took place wholly or in part in public spaces where firearms were permitted to be carried or were carried by persons present.