COLUMBIA, S.C. — Monday marks four years since the massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and there will be a special showing of new documentary debuting at a movie theater here in Columbia.
On June 17, 2105 a white supremacist entered a bible study that was taking place at Mother Emanuel AME Church. After sitting in the service for an hour, he opened fire, killing nine of the members, including the pastor of the church, Rev. Clementa Pinckney. In interviews with police, he specifically said he targeted the church because it had black parishioners, and was historic in the community.
The killer was sentenced to death for his crimes, and is sitting in a federal penitentiary awaiting his eventual execution. The murders horrified the nation, and led to calls for new regulations on waiting periods and background checks for gun purchases. It also caused lawmakers to decide that the Confederate flag should be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House.
Monday night, there will be a special viewing of the "Emanuel" documentary. According to a statement from the producers, the documentary features :"interviews with survivors and family members who were left to grapple with this senseless act of terror. Emanuel is a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, and the healing power of forgiveness."
It begins at Meeting Place Church off Two Notch Road, and tickets are $5.The church will hold a forum at 6:30, followed by the viewing at Spotlight Theatres 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Clementa Pinckney, 41: The senior pastor at the church: Pinckney had led Mother Emanuel, one of the most historic churches in the state, beginning in 2010. Pinckney was also a South Carolina State Senator, who was first elected to the General Assembly in 1996 at the age of 23.
Sharonda Coleman Singleton, 45: An assistant pastor at Mother Emanuel. Coleman-Singleton worked as a speech language pathologist at Goose Creek High School. She had a degree from South Carolina State University.
Tywanza Sanders, 26: He was a 2014 graduate of Allen University, where he got a degree in business administration.
Ethel Lance, 70: Lance had worked for 30 years at Mother Emanuel
Susie Jackson, 87: She was the oldest of the victims, who was a longtime Emanuel AME Church member and a cousin of Lance.
Cynthia Hurd, 54: Hurd worked as a regional branch manager from the Charleston County Public Library system, She'd worked there for 31 years, serving as manager of two branches.
Myra Thompson, 59: Thompson was the wife of a pastor. She had two children of her own, as well as a stepchild.
Daniel Simmons Sr., 74: He was a retired pastor from another church in Charleston. He attended Emanuel AME Church every Sunday for services and Wednesdays for bible study.
DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49: A retired government employee, having been a director in charge of community development grants.