A gunman opened fire during a prayer service at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston Wednesday night, killing nine people. Here, a brief look at each.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton: The 45-year-old was a part-time minister at Emanuel AME and worked as a speech pathologist at Goose Creek High School, where she also coached the girls track team. A mother of three, she ran track at S.C. State University for four seasons.
DePayne Middeton-Doctor: The 49-year-old was an admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University’s Charleston learning center and held degrees from Columbia College and Charleston’s Southern Wesleyan University. She previously was manager of Charleston’s Census Bureau. “DePayne truly believed in the mission of SWU to help students achieve their potential by connecting faith with learning,” Todd Voss, president of Southern Wesleyan, said in a statement. She also was known for her powerful alto voice.
Cynthia Hurd: The 54-year-old sister of former N.C. state Sen. Malcolm Graham, Hurd worked as a librarian for 31 years and was regional manager of the St. Andrews branch of the Charleston County Public Library, where she delighted in connecting children with the world of books. She had served on the Charleston Housing Authority since 1995 and was president of the nonprofit Septima P. Clark Corp., named for a civil rights activist. Hurd graduated from Clark Atlanta University and received a master’s in library science from the University of South Carolina. She would have turned 55 this weekend.
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Susie Jackson: The 87-year-old cousin of Ethel Lance was a member at Emanuel, where she sang in the choir. Tim Jackson, Lance’s grandson, told a Cleveland ABC News affiliate that Jackson was a loving, giving person with a great smile. She was fond of playing slot machines and planned to attend a church-sponsored bus trip to Chicago on Sunday.
Ethel Lance: The 70-year-old was practically always at Emanuel AME, fellow members said. She grew up in Charleston, raising five children. She was a custodian for nearly 30 years at Emanuel, but was there as a member that night, studying the Bible.
Sen. Clementa Pinckney: The 41-year-old served 19 years in the S.C. General Assembly, first in the House and then in the Senate. Pinckney also served as pastor at Emanuel AME and was leading a Bible group when the gunman opened fire inside the church. (Read a profile of Pinckney here).
Tywanza Sanders: The 26-year-old budding entrepreneur was an artist, poet and businessman who graduated from Allen University in 2014 with a business administration degree. He had moved back to his hometown of Charleston after graduation. Hours before the shooting, he put up his final post on social media, a meme with a quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Some news outlets have reported that he jumped in front of a relative once shots rang out. “Tywanza Sanders was my son, but Tywanza was my hero,” said his mother, Felicia Sanders, who also was in the church at the time of the shootings.
The Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr: The 74-year-old was a member of the ministerial staff at Emanuel AME, and, like Sanders, was an Allen University graduate. Simmons had been retired from another Charleston church and was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. Simmons was alive when emergency crews reached the church, but died later at the Medical University of South Carolina hospital, the Charleston County coroner said.
Myra Thompson: The 59-year-old Thompson was a pastor at Emanuel AME Church. According to a Facebook post, she was the wife of the Rev. Anthony Thompson, vicar of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston.
Contributing: Staff Reports, The Associated Press, The Washington Post
How to help
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
There are three ways to donate to provide direct financial support for funeral and burial expenses of the nine victims. Donations to this fund are not tax-deductible.
▪ Send a check to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, c/o City of Charleston, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, SC 29402.
▪ Make a donation by at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.
▪ Text “PrayforCharleston” to (843) 606-5995 or go to www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston.
Reverend Pinckney Fund
This fund will be administered by the Palmetto Project and donations will go to support local initiatives serving his home church. These donations will be tax-deductible.
▪ Send a check to Lowcountry Ministries – Reverend Pinckney Fund, c/o The Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Avenue #100, North Charleston, SC 29406.
▪ Donate online at the following website: www.palmettoproject.org.