Charleston Woman Talks With Newschannel 6 About Church Massacre

Charleston Woman Talks With Newschannel 6 About Church Massacre

CHARLESTON, SC - After a massive manhunt, the man responsible for shooting and killing nine people inside a Charleston, South Carolina church Wednesday night is in police custody.

Police arrested Dylan Roof, 21, Thursday afternoon in Shelby, North Carolina. Friday morning he admitted to police that he was responsible for all nine killings. He told authorities he wanted to start a "race war."

Newschannel 6 took a closer look inside that church community Roof tore apart. Reporter Jimmie Johnson was able to get in contact with a woman whose family lives in the area, are practicing members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and have very close ties to the Emanuel AME Church.

"First my mom called me and she told me to turn the news on. When I turned it on I was really shaken by it, really upset," said Tammy Bellamy, a member of the Ebenezer AME Church in Charleston. "My mom told me one of her family friends had called and said that her son was in the church. Then we found out he was one of the victims."

She told NewsChannel 6 her church and Mother Emmanuel all fall under the leadership of the Mount Pleasant District which oversees 30 AME churches in South Carolina.

Bellamy told us the tragic massacre at Mother Emanuel has rocked their AME community. While her family are not members of  the church she said they frequently visit.

"We go there and always have a great time, and the people there. It's like an old community," said Bellamy. "Their ancestors went to that church. So it's what we all know as the mother church of the AME Mount Pleasant District."

Mother Emanuel is the oldest AME church in the South. It's one out of hundreds of congregations across the country, including Anderson Chapel AME Church in Wichita Falls.

This religious organization was founded in protest against slavery, but Bellamy said the church's impact goes far beyond its place of worship.

"Everyone is so saddened by it. Black, White, all races, and all denominations," said Bellamy.

Newschannel 6 put in several calls to Anderson Chapel AME Church in Wichita Falls to get a reaction from members but have not heard back from them at this time.

President Obama addressed the situation in Charleston Thursday, urging lawmakers to take another look at the issue of "gun violence."

He also said the Department of Justice has opened a "hate crime" investigation into the shooting.

DISCLAIMER: When this story was filed Charleston authorities were referring to the shooter as Dylan "Storm" Roof. CBSNews later confirmed that "Storm" was not his middle name, but often adopted by White supremacist. 

Jimmie Johnson, NewsChannel 6