On Wednesday, June 17, an armed 21-year-old, Dylann Roof, opened fire inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He killed nine people—who were gathered for a Bible study session that evening—including the church's pastor and state senator, Clementa Pinckney. The shooting occurred around 9 p.m.; Roof had entered the church close to an hour before that. NBC News reports that a witness overheard Roof say, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you are taking over our country. And you have to go."
According to Roof's roommate, Dalton Tyler, the gunman has been planning this for months. "He said he wanted to start a civil war," Tyler told ABC. A new report today states that Roof told the police he "almost didn't go through with it because everyone was so nice to him." After an FBI-aided manhunt Thursday morning, Roof was taken into custody in Shelby, North Carolina, that afternoon. On Friday morning, he was charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm. He now faces the possibility of a death penalty.
At 6 p.m. today, a vigil will be held, and there will be a fund to help the victims' families. The tragedy—also a massacre, an act of terrorism, a hate crime, and a war on race—has stirred the nation this week. Here are some important pieces of writing to read on Wednesday night's events.
Murders in Charleston (The New Yorker)
Before Charleston's Church Shooting, A Long History of Attacks (New York Times)
The Pastor Killed in Charleston Gave a Chilling Speech on Racism a Few Weeks Ago (The Washington Post)
Charleston, Dylann Roof and the Racism of Millennials (The Washington Post)