A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, killing nine people, including the pastor, in an assault authorities described as a hate crime.
The suspect attended the meeting at the church Wednesday night and stayed for nearly an hour before the deadly gunfire erupted, Police Chief Greg Mullen said.
Florida’s elected officials and politicians are reacting to the news of this horrible tragedy.
Former Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush cancelled events planned today in South Carolina.
The Florida Senate began today’s session a moment of silence for the victims of the massacre.
Meanwhile, here is a running compilation of the reactions from the state’s elected officials and politicians:
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, via Twitter:
“Saddened by the news from Charleston. The victims and their families are in my prayers today.”
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy:
“Today, we mourn as a nation for the senseless tragedy in South Carolina that took the lives of nine individuals. My heart breaks for the victims, their families, and everyone in Charleston as they try to make sense of this horrific crime. It is my strong hope that the suspect is captured and held responsible for what appears to be a vicious hate crime. I offer my prayers, support, and condolences on behalf of the people of Florida to everyone involved.”
State Rep. Dwight Dudley, via Twitter:
“Condolences and prayers said for the repose of the Souls of those murdered in SC church last night and to their friends and family.”
State Rep. Ed Narain, via Twitter:
“Our resolve to defeat racism & raise generations that see past color, works 2 fight injustice & see one another as equals must grow stronger”
State Rep. Ray Pilon, via Twitter:
“Prayers for the families and victims of the horrible shooting incident in Charleston.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.