Charleston vigil planned Wednesday on Harrington Square


David Goldman | AP photo People cheer following a moment of prayer Sunday as thousands of marchers meet in the middle of Charleston’s main bridge in a show of unity after nine black church parishioners were gunned down during a Bible study.

ROCKINGHAM — The victims of last week’s Charleston church shooting will be remembered this week in Richmond County.

The NAACP Religious Affairs Committee and several local churches — Mount Pisgah AME Zion, Pleasant Hill AME Zion and Mount Zion United Church of Christ — have planned a vigil in Harrington Square Wednesday night to honor the memory of those killed.

Nine people — six women and three men — were killed after police say 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof opened fire inside the Emmanuel AME Church after sitting inside the church with his future victims for an hour at a weekly Bible study meeting last Wednesday.

Eight were found dead at the scene and another died at the hospital.

Among the dead were S.C. state Sen. Clementa Pinckney and Cynthia Marie Graham-Hurd, sister of former N.C. senator Malcolm Graham. Pinckney was also the pastor of the church.

The other victims were: the Rev. Sharon Coleman-Singleton, the Rev. Daniel Simmons, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor and Myra Thomson.

Roof was arrested without incident Thursday morning in Shelby.

Federal officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

“We are inviting all Richmond County residents to join for an hour of remembrance of those African-Americans who were slain at Emmanuel AME Church…as well as to unite in hope, love (and) peace as we stand against loose gun laws and violence, hate and racism,” said the Rev. Dian Griffin Jackson, chairwoman of the religious affairs committee and pastor of Mount Zion United Church of Christ.

The vigil is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will feature music, prayer and several guest speakers, including Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr., former Rockingham mayor and state senator Gene McLaurin and Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue.

Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.

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