Funerals held for 3 more Charleston shooting victims

2015-06-27 22:54
Mourners file into the funeral of Cynthia Hurd, 54, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where her and  eight others were killed in a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. (Joe Raedle, AFP)

Mourners file into the funeral of Cynthia Hurd, 54, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where her and eight others were killed in a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. (Joe Raedle, AFP)

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Charleston - Funerals for three more victims of a deadly shooting during a Bible study group in South Carolina were being held Saturday at the church where they were slain.

Services were first held for 54-year-old Cynthia Hurd at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, 11 days after a gunman entered the church and killed her and eight other people - all African-Americans. Police contend the attack was racially motivated.

Hurd, a long-time Charleston librarian, will be remembered as a tireless public servant and loving family member, speakers at her funeral said. Attendees included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, US Senator Tim Scott and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a leading civil rights activist.

"Her death will lead to change and Cynthia Hurd will be helping millions," said Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley Jr during a eulogy.

Riley remembered Hurd as a young girl serving ice cream. She went from serving people ice cream, he said, "to leading them to knowledge," as a librarian for almost 30 years.

Funerals for Tywanza Sanders, 26, and Susie Jackson, 87, were to take place at the church later in the day.

Obama eulogy

The funerals follow one on Friday for another victim, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor, whose eulogy was delivered in person by President Barack Obama.

Obama sang a hymn of hope and spoke with the fervour of a preacher as he eulogized Pinckney, and minced no words in calling for an end to racial injustice and gun violence in the United States. Obama suddenly began singing the hymn "Amazing Grace," quickly joined by ministers and some of the thousands who packed into the arena at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

The nation's first black president called for gun control and efforts to eliminate poverty and job discrimination, and said the Confederate battle flag — long a symbol of Southern pride — must be removed from places of honour.

"For many — black and white — that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now," he said during Pinckney's funeral.

Hours later, a woman was arrested early on Saturday on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol in Columbia after scaling a flagpole to rip down a Confederate flag that flew at the Statehouse. Bree Newsome, 30, was arrested immediately afterward.

She and James Ian Tyson, 30, also of Charlotte, face misdemeanour charges in the incident.

The Confederate flag was carried by forces supporting the secessionist, pro-slavery southern states during the American Civil War.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  charleston shooting

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