timberland chukka boots Families of Charleston 9 forgive shooting suspect in court
They forgave him. They advised him to repent for his sins, and asked for God mercy on his soul. One even told Dylann Storm Roof to repent and confess, and “you be OK.”
Relatives of the nine community leaders shot down during a Bible study session at their historic black church confronted the shooting suspect Friday during his initial court hearing, and spoke of love.
“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson. “We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. . Do that and you be better off than you are right now.”
Roof, who faces nine counts of murder, was ordered held on a $1 million bond on a separate gun charge. He appeared by video from the county jail, looking somber in a striped jumpsuit and speaking only briefly in response to the judge questions.
A police affidavit released Friday accused Roof of shooting all nine victims multiple times, and making a “racially inflammatory statement” as he stood over an unnamed witness.
Felecia Sanders survived the Wednesday night attack by pretending to be dead, but lost her son Tywanza. She also spoke from the judge courtroom, where Roof image appeared on a television screen.
“We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts . and I never be the same,” Sanders told Roof.
“Tywanza was my hero,” Sanders said, but even she showed some kindness as she confronted the man accused of killing her son: “As we said in Bible Study, we enjoyed you but may God have mercy on you.”
Roof, 21, bowed his head slightly as the relatives spoke. From the jail, he could hear the people talking, but couldn see them, because the camera shows only the judge.
“Charleston is a very strong community. We have big hearts. We a very loving community,” said Gosnell, who urged people to find it in their hearts to help not only the nine victims, but “victims on the young man side of the family” as well.
Roof public defender released a statement from his family offering prayers and sympathy for the victims, and expressing “shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night.”
“We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims families offering God forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering,” the statement said.
The remarkable comments seemed in keeping with a spirit evident on the streets of Charleston Friday, where people built a memorial and planned a vigil to repudiate whatever a gunman would hope to accomplish by attacking the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation most important African American sanctuaries.
“A hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea he be able to divide, but all he did was unite us and make us love each other even more,” Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said as he described plans for the evening vigil at a sports arena.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said the state will “absolutely” want the death penalty.
A steady stream of people brought flowers and notes and shared somber thoughts at a growing memorial in front of the church, which President Barack Obama called “a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.”
“This was an act of racial terrorism and must be treated as such,” the Rev. Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Friday in Charleston.
Roof had complained while getting drunk on vodka recently that “blacks were taking over the world” and that “someone needed to do something about it for the white race,” according to Joey Meek, who tipped the FBI when he saw his friend on surveillance images.
Roof also told him he used birthday money from his parents to buy a .45 Glock pistol before the attack, Meek said.
Brooks said hate crimes take aim at collective values, but “we have never allowed ourselves to be victims, we have never capitulated, we have never laid prostate before the demagogue of racism in this country.”
“This is a moment in which we say to them, the white nationalists movement, those purveyors of hate, we as Americans will not subscribe to that philosophy. We will not give up, we will not give in,” he said.
Roof was arrested in North Carolina after an alert motorist recognized him, and returned in shackles to a county jail where he was being held next to the cell of Michael Slager, the white former police officer charged with fatally shooting black motorist Walter Scott in neighboring North Charleston.
It was the third arrest for Roof, who was quizzed by police in February after workers at the Columbiana shopping mall said he appeared dressed entirely in black, asking strange questions about employee movements and closing times. He was charged then with possessing suboxone, a drug typically used to treat heroin addiction.
The victims of the church shooting included Clementa Pinckney, 41, a state senator who doubled as the church lead pastor, Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; and the reverends DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74.