(WCSC) - Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama addressed the nation in regards to the fear and heartbreak that so many are feeling across the county after Thursday night's shooting.
He offered specific support to the families of the shooting victims, "to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families, and their community doesn't say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel."
"There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship," Obama said in his remarks.
Obama confirmed that Attorney General has plans for the FBI to open a hate crime investigation, but said couldn't elaborate more about the case.
He did however say he would not be "constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise."
"Innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun," he said. "Now is the time for mourning and for healing."
This is not the first time that an African American Church has been targeted and the President didn't shy away from talking about highly debated topics like gun control and race relations saying, "hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals."
"But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.
He used Dr. Martin Luther King's own words from 50 years ago after a Birmingham, AL church bombing, "Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream."
He continued with King's words, "And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him, and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace."
His remarks ended with a message of hope to members of the AME Church and to the city of Charleston. "Mother Emanuel church and its congregation have risen before, from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times, to give hope to generations of Charlestonians."