Hundreds of people held an emotional memorial service in a packed African-American church in Charleston, the scene of a horrific mass killing just days earlier.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South Carolina city reopened on Sunday with a mostly black congregation, alternately breaking into tears and laughter as the Rev. Norvel Goff gave what Reuters describes as a “rollicking sermon”.
Outside, a large, mostly white crowd stood in solidarity.
“We are reminded this morning about the freshness of death that comes like a thief in the night,” Reuters quoted Goff as saying.
The parishioners cheered, raised their hands in triumph and hugged each other as Goff told them: “It’s going to be alright.”
Security was tight, with armed police searching bags at the door. Officers were inside the church near the nave and in the gallery.
On Wednesday, Dylann Roof opened fire at a bible class after sitting in for more than an hour, killing nine people. He was arrested while fleeing across the state line to North Carolina.
Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder.
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