CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Community leaders, activists and organizers discussed the night of the Charleston church shooting, the days afterward and the future of Charleston.
Here is a transcript of that discussion, moderated by Live 5 News anchor Raphael James.
RJ: I'll start with you Chief Mullen. When you got that call what was going through your mind?
CHARLESTON POLICE CHIEF GREG MULLEN: Well initially I was shocked, because it was certainly a Situation I never imagine would happen. That someone would come into a church And actually murder a Number of people while they were in Bible study. It was impossible to push aside the emotion That came with this because it was just such a terrible situation It was a it was a It was unspeakable It was unimaginable And then it was not possible for any of us And I told people many times since then is that this was More than any other situation I've ever encountered over 30 years this was this was a personal attack on all of us Including you know the entire community. Every police officer that was here took this very, very personal.
RJ: Chaplain Dewey, You Were among the first people to arrive on scene It is your job To provide comfort to others To help others through difficult and tragic times Tell me your experience When you arrive?
CHAPLAIN RON DEWEY: So I get on the Bridge coming over here It brought me back to June 18, 2007 of the sofa superstore Which was the next day. And that brought back a lot of memories. Came up .... and Major Broughton was up front of the church as we do each of the chaplains Train First responders, I asked her "Where do you need the chaplains to check in with incident Command. And she said I need all of y'all to check in over at the Embassy suites .... I had no idea, as Rev. Brown was saying, the scope of what we were dealing with until probably 1 o'clock 2 o'clock .... it came in piecemeal Person transported to the hospital in hopes that that person would make it.
RJ: Sometimes we take for gr anted that Professionals are professionals and they're going to do their jobs. You're the police chief you're going to do your job. You're the chaplain, you're going to do your job. But My understanding is that impacted you on a personal level As well ....
DEWEY: .... I have share this with others We had another shooting back on April fourth that I was involved with, still am, To have this shooting on top of it .... Did with doing this type of ministry for 27 years and then being with Your family members Pastor members that night, It just brought back a wave of stuff been doing this for 27 years so I ended up Taking a couple months off With my boards blessing and the chief's blessing and Sheriff. And I went to MUSC to get some counseling and I don't mind saying that. And I don't want to Call you out but I know that you and some of the other reporters struggled with this because y'all are human beings also.
RJ: Rev. Darby, You have been this community for many years you've been part of this church How did that impact you?
REV. JOSEPH DARBY: My immediate Reaction was to pick up the phone Call Clementa and see what happened See if what I need to do to help. And over the space of 30 minutes I could not get him. And over the space of 30 minutes his voicemail filled up. So I called a friend at the police department and he said Oh there's a shooting. it's very bad And there's a high probability that Rev. Pinckney is in there. And it was a very long ride home because I called my son, my oldest son to let him know what happened and ... He said, "You know you're a tad outspoken you need to be careful too. Because you don't know what this is or how it's rolling down so.... It was a difficult night.
RJ: Rev. Clark. You are now The pastor Of this church. You weren't here That night But I'm sure you heard about it I'm sure it had an impact on you.
REV. BETTY DEAS CLARK: Physically I wasn't here...Emotionally I was here. As I Watched Chief Mullen and Presiding Elder Goff and others Do a masterful job in taking care of a very difficult situation and bringing peace all at the same time. I would've never imagined that this would've happened in a church. The church is where people go to find protection It is the place where we go for safety. Where do you now go When you cannot go to the church and be safe?
RJ: When you're in the pulpit here at Emanuel and The door swings open Do you think anything? Do you are you in a state of Wondering when you talk about peace and security Has that been snatched away from you after this incident?
REV CLARK: If anything I think it's heightened for example there was a particular Sunday where we had a visitor who is very fidgety. He seemed to be very angry. And my human emotion would be Okay let's lock the house down Make sure that we are safe. But I had to push beyond and Trust those around me that they would take care of the situation and know that I had a greater purpose.
RJ: And how was that situation resolved?
REV CLARK: By grace...
RJ: And that leads me to Dorsey. Dorsey Fairbairn. What are your thoughts are you watching this or hearing about this unfold?
Dorsey Fairbairn: I felt personally attacked too, even though I didn't know anybody personally I felt like this was our community .... and I was really sad. How the president was saying is this our new norm? And I was like NOO. This cannot be the norm And what can we do? And I knew that Charleston would not react with like burning buildings and stuff like I hoped that wouldn't happen. But I had this vision of just everybody coming together and just kind of giving everybody a hug and saying You know I care. I think everybody cares about Everybody no matter what we just don't know how to express it. I put up a Facebook post up and just said You know wouldn't it be great In light of everything that happens if we could all just join together and hold hands across the bridge people coming from downtown coming from Mount Pleasant And joining in solidarity and peace No matter what color your skin the matter what your religious identity to just say How do we heal Or just Start the healing process. I just wanted Everybody to just be together And tear Just try to help each other through it.
RJ: How are we now? How's the city of Charleston? How is this community As a result Of having gone through this? Are things better racially, Socially, than they were before?
REV JOHN PAUL BROWN: It's a climate within the United States When you see the Donald Trumps of our society Is able to climb the ladder by simply making racist remarks And separation. And so it is a big problem. But moreso here because we are close knit community. Where a lot of people Is treated with Upfront Superficial respect, but below the surface there's That divide that keeps us apart.
RJ: How important was it That the suspect was Captured so quickly?
JD: Very. Very. I think that helped to keep things calm. There was not a long gap er I think that went a long way in putting us on the road to reconciliation faster.
RD: It addressed the evil right away.
JPB: Along with that, the Police Department Notifying us as they were getting closer And at the time they were going to do this They wanted us to be there and that went a long way.