Triumph over Tragedy: 6 months since the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting

VIDEO: Thursday marks 6 months since Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting
Photo Source: Live 5
Photo Source: Live 5
President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy at the funeral of the Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney. (Photo Source: Live 5)
President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy at the funeral of the Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney. (Photo Source: Live 5)
Marchers walked in unity on the Ravenel Bridge after the shooting. (Photo Source: Live 5)
Marchers walked in unity on the Ravenel Bridge after the shooting. (Photo Source: Live 5)
(Photo Source: Alex Giles)
(Photo Source: Alex Giles)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Six months ago Thursday, the Lowcountry was brought to its knees by an unspeakable tragedy that was reportedly meant to tear people apart.. But instead, some say it brought us together and made Charleston stronger than ever.

A lot has happened since the night of June 17 when members of Mother Emanuel AME were gathered enjoying Bible study.

The Rev. Clementa Pinkney, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders,DePayne Middleton Doctor, Ethel Lance, the Rev. Daniel Simmons, Susie Jackson and Myra Thompson were together when the unthinkable happened.

Police say lone suspect Dylann Roof joined them for Bible study then later shot multiple rounds and killed the nine. Five survivors escaped the horror to go on and forgive Roof who told police after being captured in North Carolina that he hoped to start a race war.

Days after the shooting Chris Singleton, a baseball player at Charleston Southern University and the son of victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton delivered a powerful message in light of losing his mother.

"Love is always stronger than hate. So, if we just love the way my Mom would, then the hate won't be anywhere close to where the love is,"Singleton encouraged. Singleton's message was one that the Lowcountry echoed as everyone came together for peace and strength.

It was also a sentiment that President Barack Obama made a part of his eulogy at Rev. Clementa Pickney's service, singing "Amazing Grace."

The mass shooting called for action and Gov. Nikki Haley answered saying much needed to be done to improve racial equality not only in South Carolina but in the nation.

Shortly after the shooting Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State House. Haley would soon get her wish with the removal of the confederate flag July 10.

As the Lowcountry and even nation rally around Mother Emanuel millions of dollars in funds have been raised for the victims, survivors and the church.

Events throughout the Lowcountry included the Bridge for peace, as well as numerous benefits and peace marches.

Outgoing Mayor Joe Riley reflected on the state of race relations and his thoughts upon learning of the tragedy.

"It reminded me work is not finished. The work of having people respect, having everybody respect everybody regardless of color, religion," Riley said.
During the mayors last city council meeting Tuesday city council approved a resolution dedicating oak trees at the city's Gaillard center in honor of the victims and survivors.

State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Roof. His state trial is set for July 11 of next year. In addition to 13 state charges, he faces an additional 33 federal charges that include hate crimes. The U.S. Justice Department has not said if it will seek the death penalty.

Meanwhile, a friend of Roof, Joey Meek, is also facing charges. Federal investigators say Meek lied to them about Roof's plans to attack Emanuel AME Church. Roof stayed with Meek and his family in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

Meek is out of jail right now on bond awaiting a trial here in Charleston. If convicted, he could face a maximum of eight years in prison.

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