‘Verdict ... will hold him accountable’
“On June 17, 2015, Dylann Storm Roof sought out and opened fire on African-American parishioners engaged in worship and bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. ... He did so because of their race. And he did so to interfere with their peaceful exercise of religion. The victims in the case led lives as compassionate civic and religious leaders; devoted public servants and teachers; and beloved family members and friends. They include a young man in the bloom of youth and an 87-year-old grandmother who still sang in the church choir. We remember those who have suffered, and especially those that lost their lives: Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Myra Thompson, 59.
“Today, a jury of his peers considered the actions Roof took on that fateful day, and they rendered a verdict that will hold him accountable for his choices.
“No verdict can bring back the nine we lost that day at Mother Emanuel. And no verdict can heal the wounds of the five church members who survived the attack or the souls of those who lost loved ones to Roof’s callous hand. But we hope that the completion of the prosecution provides the people of Charleston – and the people of our nation – with a measure of closure. We thank the jurors for their service, the people of Charleston for their strength and support, and the law enforcement community in South Carolina and throughout the country for their vital work on this case.”
— U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch
‘Rightly sentenced to death’
“Nineteen months ago, a heartless murderer attempted to start a race war. He believed the damage his racist hands wrought would undo Charleston, South Carolina, and maybe even the nation.
“Today that man was rightly sentenced to death. I want to thank the jurors for their service during this agonizing case.
“As we heard the testimony of survivors and the families of those killed and injured at Mother Emanuel throughout this trial, they once again left me in awe. Hearing firsthand recollections of that night, learning even more about how much the families of those killed loved and cared for them, I am sure I am not the only one overwhelmed with emotion.
“While we can never bring back the Emanuel 9, we can ensure their legacy will live on forever. We will continue to stand behind the families, and their message of unity. Today is a pivotal moment in their road towards some sort of closure, and we will all be there with them on that journey.
“To the families of the Emanuel 9, I say thank you. In your loss, you have given all of us more than we ever thought possible.”
— U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston
‘Justice has been done’
“My prayers continue to go out to the families affected in the wake of this tragedy. Their actions inspired people both at home in South Carolina — and around the world — on the remarkable power that comes in forgiveness.
“Today’s verdict brings closure in the wake of remarkable tragedy. I am thankful that our legal processes have worked and that justice has been done in the wake of the unspeakable events that occurred at the hand of Mr. Roof at the Mother Emanuel AME church at home in Charleston.”
— U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston
‘All human life is sacred, even for ... the most heinous of crimes’
“We are all sinners, but through the Father’s loving mercy and Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice upon the Cross, we have been offered the gift of eternal life. The Catholic opposition to the death penalty, therefore, is rooted in God’s mercy. The Church believes the right to life is paramount to every other right as it affords the opportunity for conversion, even of the hardened sinner.
“Sentencing Dylann Roof to death conflicts with the Church’s teaching that all human life is sacred, even for those who have committed the most heinous of crimes. Instead of pursuing death, we should be extending compassion and forgiveness to Mr. Roof, just as some of the victims’ families did at his bond hearing in June 2015.
“Although we oppose the death penalty in modern society, our Catholic faith sustains our solidarity with, and support and prayers for, the victims of the Emanuel AME Church massacre and their relatives. We commit ourselves to walk with these family members, as well as the survivors, as they continue to heal from the trial and this tragedy.
“Please continue to pray for the victims, survivors and families of the Emanuel AME Church shooting. Please also pray for Mr. Roof and his family. May he acknowledge his sins, convert to the Lord, and experience His loving mercy.”
— Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston
‘Clear message that racism, bigotry, and violence have absolutely no place in our society’
"Today, after facing a jury of South Carolinians, the perpetrator of this horrific crime received the harshest penalty that our justice system imposes. Today's sentence sends the clear message that racism, bigotry, and violence have absolutely no place in our society. With the sentencing phase complete, let us continue to comfort the families and friends of the 9 souls that were taken from us as well as those who survived the evil act. The attack on them was an attack on us all, and we must move forward in solidarity to overcome the demons we still face."
— S.C. Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison