Charleston - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley confirmed that there were fatalities in the shooting at a historic African-American church on Wednesday night.
"This is an unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy in this most historic church, an evil and hateful person took the lives of citizens who had come to worship and pray together," Riley told the Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina.
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Charleston Police Department spokesman Charles Francis said the shooting occurred at the Emanuel AME Church around 21:00 local time (01:00 GMT). Police have provided no information on victims.