Crowds jam Carolina church funeral

Published: Friday 26th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The venue for the funeral of one of the nine victims of the South Carolina church shooting has been closed off after police said it had reached capacity.

The College of Charleston’s TD Arena was packed out with thousands of people well ahead of the funeral for the Rev Clementa Pinckney, with president Barack Obama due to deliver a eulogy.

Police said they had to turn away hundreds of people who were still standing in a queue that stretched several blocks. Some people cried after they were turned away.

Remote viewings have been set up at county offices, a church in North Charleston and a city centre museum among other places.

A band and a choir of several hundred men and women will lead the crowd of 6,000 mourners in a medley of spiritual songs ahead of the funeral.

Mr Obama will pay tribute to Mr Pinckney and eight parishioners of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church who were shot dead during a Bible study session last week in what authorities are investigating as a racially motivated attack.

The first two funerals were held yesterday amid tight security, with attendees including national civil rights leaders and state governor Nikki Haley.

The funerals began as the debate over the Confederate flag and other Old South symbols continued around the region.

A growing number of leading politicians said Civil War symbols should be removed from places of honour, despite their role as elements of Southern identity.

The shooting suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, has appeared in photos with a Confederate licence plate, waving a Confederate flag, and burning and desecrating US flags on a website created in his name months before the attacks.

Lawyer Boyd Young, who represents Roof’s family, issued a statement saying they will answer questions later, but want to allow the victims’ families to grieve. “We feel it would be inappropriate to say anything at this time other than that we are truly sorry for their loss,” the statement said.

Published: Friday 26th June 2015 by The News Editor

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