Republican Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has cancelled a planned visit to Charleston following the brutal shooting that left 9 dead at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in the city. Bush had planned to attend as part of a four-day tour of several states after he formally announced his candidacy on Monday, the Hill reports. Bush’s likely rival, Hillary Clinton, had attended a fundraiser in the city earlier in the day, where she had reportedly met S.C. State Senator Clementa Pinckney, the Guardian reports. Pinckney is now known to be among those killed in the shooting, which has been classified as a hate crime by the authorities.
Both Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton responded to the shooting via Twitter, where they were also joined by Bush’s Republican rivals, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by the tragic events in Charleston.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) June 18, 2015
Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of last night’s shooting in Charleston https://t.co/GCtPg7yQ1r
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 18, 2015
Saddened by the news from Charleston. The victims and their families are in my prayers today.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 18, 2015
According to the Washington Post, Jeb Bush planned to speak at the Charleston Maritime Center to discuss his intentions for the military and foreign affairs before he visited Washington D.C. and Tampa on Friday. The Bush brothers have another connection to Charleston, with their mother, Barbara Bush, having graduated from the city’s Ashley Hall school in 1943.
The shooting at the church, established in 1816 and the oldest A.M.E. church in the southern U.S., was reportedly carried out by a 21-year-old white man, with the suspect being named as Dylann Roof, who was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, just minutes ago, Raw Story reports. The Guardian reports that Roof was seen in a Facebook photo wearing a jacket bearing the flag of apartheid-era South Africa, as well as neighboring Rhodesia, another country which was ruled by the white minority.
Roof’s uncle, Carson Cowles, revealed to Reuters that Roof’s father had given him a.45 caliber handgun as a birthday present.
During the attack, Pinckney reportedly tried to talk Roof down. Survivor Sylvia Johnson told Reuters that Dylann Roof said that he “had to do it,” the Inquisitr reports.
“[Dylann Roof] just said, ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.’ ”
[Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images, Dylann Roof image via Facebook]