State leaders, celebrities react to downtown Charleston shooting

Published: Jun. 18, 2015 at 5:18 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2015 at 5:08 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott released statements regarding the downtown Charleston

. Haley sent this statement Wednesday night:

"Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers."


Sen. Tim Scott, who will be leaving Washington to return to South Carolina, said in a statement:

"My heart is breaking for Charleston and South Carolina tonight. This senseless tragedy at a place of worship - where we come together to laugh, love and rejoice in God's name - is absolutely despicable and can never be understood.

Tonight we stand together in prayer for Pastor Pinckney and his congregation at Emanuel AME , and for the families who are enduring unimaginable pain at the loss of their loved ones. We will come together as a city and as a state to lift up those who need us most right now. I hope for their sake, and for the people of Charleston, that the perpetrators of this terrible crime are swiftly brought to justice."

S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas issued a statement on Thursday morning:

"As a loving father, husband and dedicated public servant, Clementa Pinckney was a man of honor and sought to make a difference in the lives of others. Having served with hi for a short time in the South Carolina House and continuing our friendship after his move to the Senate, Clementa held firm to his convictions and his integrity was a direct reflection of the love he shared for Christ. Senator Pinckneyy's calming presence wilbe missed in Columbia and across South Carolina, but I am certain his legacy will live on. Tracy and I extend our thoughts and heartfelt prayers to Clementa's family, the victims and their families of this act of violence, the Emanuel AME congregation and the Charleston community as we begin to heal from this senseless tragedy."

Senator Harvey Peeler, Majority Leader, on behalf of the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus, stated:

"I and all of my colleagues in the Senate are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Senator Pinckney. He was a talented and well respected Senator who represented the people of his church, his community and his state with great character and a servant's heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, Jennifer, Eliana and Malana, as well as the other victims' families."

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on last night's tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina:

"Today, the nation mourns as we learn more about the harrowing shooting at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  As law enforcement continues its work and as the victims' families and community begin to heal, we are heartbroken and painfully reminded that our work is far from done. No one should ever have a reason to be afraid to go to their place of worship.  We must recommit to ensuring our communities are safe from senseless and hateful acts of violence."

S.C. Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster released his statement:

"Senator Clementa Pinckney embodied the greatness and virtue of South Carolina.  He was among the finest of men.  He touched many lives.  We pray that the families, loved ones, and friends of all the victims of this senseless tragedy find some peace in knowing that the entire state grieves with them."  

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham made the following statement:

“Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Charleston. We are all heartbroken by this tragedy. To the families of the victims, please know that you are being prayed for and loved by so many in the community and across the nation. I pray that God will provide you healing in the coming days. There are bad people in this world who are motivated by hate.  Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by the individual who perpetrated these horrible acts. Our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken.” 

U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement:

"It is with great sadness that I heard of the unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Charleston last night.  My heart goes out to the victims, including State Senator Clementa Pinckney, their friends and family and members of Emanuel AME Church.  I am distraught that this kind of hate still exists in our country and specifically in my home state of South Carolina.  I'm reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." We must take these horrific crimes that are happening across our states and teach our neighbors that hate is not the answer.  Please pray with me today for the Charleston community as they begin the healing process."

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