Lowcountry, state leaders react to Dylann Roof guilty verdict

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - On Thursday, Dylann Roof was found guilty on all 33 federal charges in the Emanuel AME shooting.

The jury took less than two hours to reach the verdict.

Roof stared ahead blankly as the guilty verdicts were read out. Many local leaders and lawmakers have issued statements regarding the guilty verdict.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg released the following statement:

"Today, Dylann Storm Roof was held accountable for the horrific acts of evil he committed last June in the hallowed walls of Mother Emanuel church. We can only hope that this verdict brings some measure of comfort to the survivors and families, who remain in our prayers and whose extraordinary faith and grace have so moved us all."

Nikki Haley reacted by saying "It is my hope that the survivors, the families & the people of South Carolina can find some peace in the fact that justice has been served."

Charleston County Council Chariman Elliott Summey gave this statement:

Today, our community heard the decision from a jury of our peers that Dylann Roof was found guilty of all 33 federal charges of killing nine people at the Emanuel AME Church. I appreciate the jury and thank them for their community service. I'm also thankful that this evil deed filled with hatred will not go unpunished. This disturbing hate monger scouted out churches, drove to our city and tried to use his hate to break apart our community. However, our community came together to make sure his hate did not win. His violent killing not only affected those nine souls, it affected hundreds of thousands of people who knew those we lost in the church that night ... their friends and families. 

Please take a moment to say a prayer and remember those who lost their life tragically on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel AME Church. These are not just names - they're your mom, dad, sister, brother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa, grandchildren, spouse, friend and more that went to church on a weekday night to make the world a better place.

Please note, the death penalty phase of this trial will not be any easier for the families, we need to continue to stand by them during this time and lift them up. I have faith in the jury to make sure he receives the maximum sentence for his hateful murders. As we are grateful for this decision, let's take a moment to remember every person who died that night and the light they brought to our lives, the survivors who witnessed unfathomable events that they can barely speak of - Felicia Sanders, her granddaughter and Polly Sheppard - and the family and friends of each person who lost their life that night. Murder is never the answer. I send my prayers to the families who have to endure this daily, but know those we lost will always be remembered. 

Saying a prayer for those lost on June 17, 2015, their families and friends: 

The Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Cynthia Hurd 

The Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Tywanza Sanders 

Ethel Lance 

Susie Jackson 

Depayne Middleton Doctor 

The Reverend Daniel Simmons

Myra Thompson 

The Emanuel Nine will never be forgotten. May they rest in peace. 

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) released the following statement.

"While today's verdict will not bring back those lost, it does ensure that the families of those murdered and injured at Mother Emanuel will see justice come to the evil man who perpetrated this heinous crime. I know it was not easy for them to testify and to sit and watch as photos and evidence from June 17, 2015 were shown in court. As the killer now awaits sentencing, I want the families of those lost that day to know one thing: we are all still with you. While this chapter is now closed, the rest of this book has yet to be written. Your strength and courage has changed Charleston, South Carolina, and our nation forever. We will not ever be able to fully thank you for showing us all the true meaning of righteousness, but what we can do is continue working every single day to ensure that the legacy of the Emanuel 9 lives on forever. We know that love can overcome hate, and that united we are greater than the sum of our parts. Because although a racist madman attempted to destroy us, and we will never forget the scars he gave us, what he really ended up doing was showing us what we must do every single day. Believe in love. Trust in each other. And be resolute in our determination to move forward together. God Bless the Emanuel 9, their families, Charleston and the state of South Carolina."

Senator Malcolm Graham, brother of Cynthia Hurd, said "Racism, discrimination, and hatred was put on [trial] in Charleston and lost 33 times."

Senator Gerald Malloy spoke on behalf of the Pinckney family saying, "This family has had a difficult last year and a half. Justice is being done."

9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said "I'm proud of my colleagues on a case well tried. Justice will be served."

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