Charleston: hope and mercy after bloodshed

Outside the church in Charleston where a gunman shot dead nine people at bible study there’s a mood of sadness, but also of hope.

BETTY BELL, CHARLESTON RESIDENT,

“Things can get better and it’s just nice to see all these people come together like this to try to overcome the hatred in the world with just a little bit of love.”

MITCH FIFE, CHARLESTON RESIDENT,
“You can feel the peace in the air so I think that the city of Charleston will recover from this and will heal.”

The 21-year-old white man accused of murdering the nine black victims appeared on video link for a bail hearing on Friday.

Relatives of some of the victims said they forgave Dylann Roof who appeared to listen but showed no emotion.

FAMILY MEMBER OF SHOOTING VICTIM ETHEL LANCE,

“I will never be able to hold her again but I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You’ve hurt me. You’ve hurt a lot of people. May God forgive you and I forgive you.”

Christopher Singleton’s mother Sharonda is among the dead.

He says the support of his Charleston Southern University baseball team-mates is helping him get through.

CHRISTOPHER SINGLETON, SON OF SHOOTING VICTIM SHARONDA SINGLETON,

“My mom was a God-fearing woman and she loved everybody with all her heart. And to the other families I am sorry about what happened, obviously, you guys are as devastated as we are but I know for a fact that thing will get better as time goes on.”

Authorities say the shooting suspect spent an hour in bible study with his victims before opening fire.

He’s charged with nine counts of murder and a weapons offence.

The U.S. Justice Department says it’s investigating the killings both as a hate crime and possible act of terrorism.