Four years later: Impact of Charleston Church shooting on state

Updated: Jun. 17, 2019 at 8:39 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Many consider the deadly shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as one of the darkest days in South Carolina history.

Despite all the bad, there was still some positive change.

Lorne Grant said he’ll never forget the 9 people who lost their lives four years ago. “It was really a shocker to see someone go into a church and shoot up the church. It blew my mind.”

He bought a ticket to watch the showing of the ‘Emanuel’ documentary Monday night.

Grant said he remembers the shock, pain, and grief he felt after the shooting. But the things that stick out to him the most are the forgiveness and unity.

It’s been reported shooter claimed he wanted to start a race war and divide people, Grant said that plan failed. “If anything he brought everyone together.”

State Representative Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) agreed. “He turned those 9 people in martyrs and the survivors turned into a rallying cry to make South Carolina better.”

Rep. Rutherford said that night in June was one of the most difficult nights of his life. He lost a colleague and friend. He said taking action was the best way to remember the Charleston 9.

When the Confederate flag was removed from the State House grounds after the shooting Rep. Rutherford said it was a big change for the state. “South Carolina is now on the map in terms of business. In terms of a location for tourists. In terms of being on the forefront for everything it should be.”

He adds South Carolina will never forget the Charleston 9.

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