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Shooting occurred at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC

The shocking shooting that left nine people dead at a Charleston SC church on Wednesday has all of the parallels to the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.

That dreadful event left four young, African American girls dead, and sparked racial tensions throughout the South that inflamed the Civil Rights movement.

The recent shooting in Charleston, SC at the Emanuel AME church is no different. Nine people lost their lives, including South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, and grieving communities have expressed outrage.

 “This tragedy that we’re addressing right now is indescribable,” Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at a news conference early Thursday morning. “No one in this community will ever forget this night. And as a result of that, and because of the pain, and because of the hurt that this individual has caused this community, this entire community, the law enforcement agencies that are working on this are committed — we will catch this individual.”

This tragedy comes at a time when racial tensions have tipped the scale in the state of South Carolina after a white police officer, Michael Slager, shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, during a routine traffic stop in North Charleston, SC back on April 4.

The latest blow to South Carolina's racial divide has many people around the nation on edge.

"You're not even safe in a church," said one person on their Twitter account. "Just like those people weren't in the Birmingham church bombing. History is repeating itself."

Meanwhile, Police said the victims at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as “Mother Emanuel,” had gathered Wednesday night for a prayer meeting when the shooting occurred.

 “While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said in a statement late Wednesday night.

Local law authorities have joined forces with the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track down leads as the citywide manhunt increased for the suspect involved in the shooting, who is described as a white male, in his early 20s, who fled the scene in a black sedan.

“This person is dangerous,” Mayor Riley told Washington Post reporters. “We need every tip we can get to bring this person into custody as soon as possible, and of course will make sure that he pays the price for this horrible act.”

In a statement released by the Reverend Al Sharpton involving the shooting, the National Action Network put up a reward toward the apprehension of the killer.

“We must do what we can to apprehend the killer and we must support the families involved in this tragedy," Sharpton said in his press release statement early Thursday. "Demagoguery, increasing tension, and talk of violence will only make a mockery of what we face.”  

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