US state senator dies in church shooting
Clementa Pinckney, above, the 41-year-old pastor at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was one on eight people who were killed at the historic church yesterday by a lone gunman, believed to be white. A ninth person died shortly after the horrifying attack.
According to this report, Pinckney was a high-flying Democrat state senator who won election to the South Carolina senate in 2000 at the age of 27, becoming the youngest African American to do so. He had previously been elected to the state’s House of Representatives at 23.
Reports said he met Hillary Clinton earlier yesterday at a fundraising event in Charleston.
In April Pinckney helped lead a prayer vigil for Walter Scott, a black South Carolina man who was shot dead by a police officer as he tried to run away.
Pinckney campaigned for legislation to require police officers to wear body cameras while working, saying:
Body cameras help to record what happens. It may not be the golden ticket, the golden egg, the end-all-fix-all, but it helps to paint a picture of what happens during a police stop.
The Rev Joseph Darby, the presiding elder at Beaufort AME Church, described Pinckney as “an advocate for the people”. He told MSNBC:
He was a very caring and competent pastor, and he was a very brave man. Brave men sometimes die difficult deaths.
The Emanuel Church website said Pinckney began preaching at 13 and was first appointed as a pastor at 18. He had a degree in business administration, and master’s degrees in public administration and divinity.
His profile on the church website included a quote from a Washington Post columnist, David Broder, who said Pinckney was a “political spirit lifter for surprisingly not becoming cynical about politics”.
Pinckney is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Eliana and Malana.