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Police in Charleston, S.C. have confirmed multiple fatalities after a shooting inside one of the oldest Black AME churches in the nation. A White gunman, who remains at large, opened fire at the Emanuel AME Church Wednesday night shooting and killing nine people.

Reports YAHOO! News:

Police described the suspect as a 21-year-old white man in a sweatshirt or hoodie and jeans, according to Charleston newspaper The Post and Courier. It cited unconfirmed reports that as many as eight people may have been hit by gunfire.

Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis said the shooting occurred at the Emanuel AME Church around 9 p.m. local time.

He said police were still searching for a suspect, and he had no information on victims. Further details were not immediately available.

North Carolina television station WGHP, a Fox affiliate, reported on its website that some of the victims may have died.

Local broadcaster WCSC reported that the FBI was on the scene. The FBI could not be immediately reached to comment.

The website for the church said it has one of the largest and oldest black congregations in the region.

The church was built in 1891 and is considered a historically significant building, according to the National Park Service.

 

“We’re still gathering information so it’s not the time yet for details,” said Mayor Joe Riley. “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.”

Church pastor, Clementa Pinckney, was among those killed. Authorities were still in the process of identifying the exact number of fatalities at press time.

Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman

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