A massacre at a church in Charleston leaves a community stunned and heartbroken
"This has been my family church since I was born," says Brae Richardson, 23
Walk past the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, past the Gothic building and onto the streets, and you see a city in grief.
Bouquets of flowers sit outside, their colorful petals withering in the summer heat. Flickering candles line the sidewalks, their glow bright amid the city’s darkest moments.
In a South Carolina city known for its tolerance of all religious denominations came a massacre so shocking, residents don’t know how to react.
They’re calling for justice, but also asking for peace. Some are indignant, some are resigned.
They stand in prayer circles as strangers hug and bagpipes wail “Amazing Grace.” They weep and ask why.
After a white man allegedly killed nine people at one of the nation’s oldest African-American churches, a stunned and heartbroken community is struggling with a flood of emotions: anger, sadness, resilience.
The hardest thing about standing outside the church now, Tiffany Bonaparte said, is seeing so many people streaming by without stopping.
“People are just continuing like it’s a normal night in Charleston,” Bonaparte (pictured left)