A white gunman opened fire during a bible study Wednesday night at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people and sending the iconic city into chaos as cops searched for the suspect.
The shooting took place at about 9 p.m. Eastern at the Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street.
Police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. 8 People Were Found Dead in the Church & Another Died at the Hospital
Charleston police said during a televised press conference that 8 of the victims were found dead inside the church and the ninth victim died at the hospital.
2. There Are Reports About a Bomb Scare at the Church
There have also been unconfirmed reports of a bomb threat at the church. There’s a heavy police presence around the church, with the area blocked off by barricades.
3. Cops Say the Suspect Is a White Man in His 20s
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) June 18, 2015
Charleston police said on Twitter that the suspect is a white man in his 20s with a slender build. Police had no further details on the suspect’s appearance.
Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call their dispatch line.
4. The Emanuel AME Church Is the Oldest African Methodist Church in the South
The iconic church is the oldest African Methodist church in the south and one of the oldest historically black churches in the country.
5. The Church’s Pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney, Was Shot
The church’s pastor is Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic state senator. The Charleston Post and Courier reported that Pinckney was believed to have been inside the church at the time of the shooting.
Pinckney is among the shooting victims, Buzzfeed reports.