Charleston church shooting: The victims remembered
- 18 June 2015
- From the section US & Canada
On Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina, nine churchgoers headed to Emanuel AME Church for bible study, a typical activity for the group. They were pastors, recent graduates, librarians, coaches and members of families, but a deadly shooting took their lives. Here is what we know about the nine victims.
Cynthia Hurd, 54, was a beloved employee of the Charleston County Public Library for 31 years.
"Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth," the library wrote in a post to its website on Thursday.
The library closed all of its locations on Thursday in her honour.
A city council member said on Thursday that the branch of the Charleston library where Hurd worked was going to be re-named the Cynthia Hurd Regional Library, calling her a "true public servant".
She was known as a person dedicated to teaching and helping others read. She is survived by her husband Arthur, the Post and Courier reports.
Her brother, former North Carolina state senator Malcom Graham, said it was a small comfort his sister died in the church she loved so much. She had been going to Emanuel AME Church every Sunday and Wednesday since her childhood.
She was looking forward to retirement and her 55th birthday, which would have been Sunday.
Reverend Clementa Pinckney
South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney was the church's pastor since 2010 and a well-known community leader. He was a married father of two.
Pinckney had been preaching since he was 13. He was considered a rising star of Democratic politics in a largely Republican state.
Earlier this year, he lent his voice to a campaign for police to wear body cameras in the wake of the deadly officer-involved shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott.
"I always felt God had called me to serve within the church because of what the church stands for," he told the Charleston Post and Courtier in 2010. "This has always been home."
Pinckney served in South Carolina government since 1997. He attended Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina.
Read more: Pastor lifted spirits
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a speech therapist, pastor and high school track coach, was a mother of three.
Ms Singleton was a track athlete at South Carolina State University, according to the Post and Courier.
Her son Chris Singleton is a baseball player at Charleston Southern University. He confirmed his mother's death on his Twitter account.
"Pray for my mom please," he tweeted on Wednesday night. He was re-tweeting remembrances of his "talented" and "beautiful" mother on Thursday.
The Goose Creek Gators, her track team, wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday: "We love you, Coach Singleton. Gator Nation is where it is today because of your leadership. You have our thoughts and prayers."
"I saw her at work everyday and she always had a smile on her face. When I was doing duty she would walk by me with that awesome smile and never had a bad smile," Goose Greek Gators baseball coach Chris Pond told the Berkeley Independent.
Tywanza Sanders was a recent graduate of Allen University, a private historically black university in South Carolina.
Sanders graduated in 2014 with a degree in business administration.
"He was a quiet, well-known student who was committed to his education. He presented a warm and helpful spirit as he interacted with his colleagues," Dr Flavia Eldemire, the university's vice president of institutional advancement, said in a statement.
Tessa Spencer, an anchor for local channel ABCNews4, told BuzzFeed News Sanders worked with her brother at a barber shop and she saw him only two days ago.
He describes himself as a "poet, artist and businessman" on his Instagram account. His final post was a quote from late US African American baseball player Jackie Robinson, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
Ethel Lee Lance, 70, worked for the church for 30 years, her grandson told the Post and Courier.
She had five children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
"I'm lost, I'm lost," he told the newspaper. "Granny was the heart of the family. She's a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don't have anyone else like that."
She served as a sexton at the church to keep the building clean and loved gospel music.
"She was a God-fearing woman," said granddaughter Najee Washington, who lived with her grandmother. "She was the heart of the family, and she still is. She is a very caring, giving and loving woman. She was beautiful inside and out".
Rev Depayne Middleton-Doctor
Rev Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, was a mother of four daughters and a minister at the church, according to the Post and Courier.
Doctor was an enrolment counsellor at Southern Wesleyan University's Charleston campus.
She retired in 2015 as Charleston County director of the Community Development Block Program.
"My beautiful Songbird. This is a hard one to Swallow. I will truly miss you my love. Your beautiful personality, your laughter, your smile and your love for everyone," Laurie Middleton wrote on Facebook.
Another friend wrote of Middleton that she was "truly a blessing! Always spoke, always had a smile on your face and always had nothing but positive things to say!"
She only joined Emanuel AME church at the beginning of this year.
Susie Jackson, 87, was a cousin of Lance and was a long time church member, according to the Post and Courier.
"It's just hard to process that my grandmother had to leave Earth this way," her grandson Tim Jackson of Ohio told ABC News in Cleveland. "It's real real hard. It's challenging because I don't believe she deserved to go this way. It hurts to process."
Jackson was on the usher board and participated in the choir, he said. He described her as a "loving, giving person" with a "great smile".
Rev Daniel Simmons Sr
Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74, was the only victim to die at a hospital and not the church.
Sh'Kur Francis, a Baptist minister, tweeted on Thursday "I can't believe that Rev. Dan Simmons is gone. This man baptized me, married my parents, and eulogized my granny."
Simmons went to Emanuel AME Church every Sunday and Wednesday, his daughter-in-law Arcelia Simmons told ABC News.
Myra Thompson, 59, was a pastor at the church and a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Thompson was wife to Rev Anthony Thompson of the Anglican Church in North America, the group tweeted on Wednesday.