Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina reopened for the first Sunday service since the tragic church massacre took place last week, killing nine people.
Nine church members were killed in the attack at the historic African-American church, after a 21-year-old white man, Dylann Roof, opened fire on the parishioners.
Hundreds filled the historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, honoring the victims of the tragic incident, praying and singing hymns in remembrance of the church members, shot on Wednesday during a bible study.
During the prayer service, people wept and hugged each other, seeking to comfort their greef.
Officials say the suspect, Dylann Roof, spent an hour together with the churchgoers at a Bible study group before opening fire.
Law enforcement officials said Roof had admitted to killing the people he had sat with for Bible study. According to one of the officials, he also told investigators he did it to start a race war.
Hundreds joined the March for Black Lives in Charleston on Saturday, walking to Emanuel AME Church silently from a nearby park to lay flowers at the memorial outside the church.The march ended with the gathering of people outside the historic Daughters of the Confederacy building.
The shootings have revived calls for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse after a photo of Dylann Roof,the suspect of the church attack, was seen posing in front of a car with Confederate plates.
Debate over the banner of the Confederacy has continued for decades between those who feel it is a symbol of free speech, and others who see it as a symbol of white supremacy.
A state legislator has pledged to introduce a bill for the removal of the flag before the next legislative year begins.
Chairman of the Republican Party in South Carolina, Matt Moore, said that the State’s Republican leaders are also gathering together on plans to figure out next steps concerning the issue.