As a shocked America mourned the killing of nine people in a historic black church, President Barack Obama said the US must eventually reckon with all too frequent mass shootings and gun violence.
“Now is a time for mourning and healing,” said the country’s first African-American President in a White House statement shortly after the capture of the white man who attacked the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina.
“But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” he said.
According to a CBS count, it was the 14th time that Obama was speaking after a mass shooting. It was another example, he said, of innocent people being killed because someone who “wanted to inflict harm” had “no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
“The fact this took place in a black church raises questions about a dark part of our history,” Obama said.
The suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, who joined a prayer meeting inside the church and spent nearly an hour there Wednesday night before killing six women and three men, including the pastor, was captured without resistance Thursday after an all-night manhunt.
According to a law enforcement source cited by CBS, an eyewitness told authorities that Roof stood up in the church and said he was there to shoot black people and then made some derogatory remarks.
During a court appearance Thursday afternoon in North Carolina, Roof waived extradition. He also waived his right to counsel, meaning he will either represent himself or hire his own lawyer.