PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting has a local connection.
Eyewitness News spoke to a Philadelphia area pastor who knew Clementa Pinckney, a state senator.
“At 18, he’s, you know, pastoring a church, and already making all the right steps and right decisions, and so he accomplished probably more in 25 years of pastoral ministry than most people will in a lifetime,” says Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler, of Mother Bethel AME Church. “We can at least take some comfort in the name of the congregation Emanuel. You know, Emanuel in the Bible means ‘God with us,’ and sometimes it’s difficult even in times like this to really believe that, and to see it, but I just believe that even in this tragedy, that God is still with us.”
Reverend Pinckney is the only victim who has been identified so far.
The suspect remains at large, and police describe him as a white male in his early 20s.
Authorities are calling the attack at the historic black church a hate crime.
Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia is hosting a prayer vigil on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the church located at 419 South 6th Street.