Charleston Church Victims' Families Forgive Suspect in Court
- Charleston S.C. 06/19/2015 by Jeffrey Collins (AP)
They forgave him. They advised him to repent for his sins, and asked for God's mercy on his soul. One even told Dylann Storm Roof to repent and confess, and "you'll be OK."
Relatives of the nine people shot down during a Bible study session inside their historic black church confronted the 21-year-old suspect Friday during his initial hearing. They described their pain and anger, but also spoke of love.
"I forgive you, my family forgives you," said Anthony Thompson, whose relative Myra Thompson was killed. "We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. ... Do that and you'll be better off than you are right now."
Roof was ordered held until a bond is set on murder charges. He appeared by video from the county jail, looking somber in a striped jumpsuit and speaking only briefly in response to the judge's questions.
The victims included the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator who doubled as the church's lead pastor, and eight others who played multiple roles in their families and communities: ministers and coaches, teachers and a librarian, counselors and choir singers and the elderly sexton who made sure the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was kept clean.