President Obama Charleston Church Shooting Speech Video: “I’ve Had To Make Statements Like This Too Many Times”
President Obama gave a speech on Thursday about the fatal shootings at Emaunel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where alleged shooter Dylann Storm Roof killed nine people, including the church’s pastor Clementa Pinckney. Watch below.
As Gossip Cop reported, Roof allegedly sat inside the church for nearly an hour while the members held a prayer meeting on Wednesday night, before allegedly opening fire on the people who had gathered. He was initially identified via surveillance footage as officials led a manhunt for his capture. On Thursday, shortly before President Obama’s speech, Roof was taken into custody without incident during a traffic stop by authorities several hours away in Shelby, North Carolina. Police have not yet released the names of the victims, but State Senator and pastor Pinckney is confirmed to be among them.
In a press conference held at the White House, Obama began, “This morning I spoke with, and Vice President Biden spoke with, Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.” He went on, “Michelle and I know several members of the AME church, we knew their pastor, Clementa Pinckney… To say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.”
“Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There’s something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace, and we seek peace,” said Obama, going on to detail some of the historic events that took place at the AME church over the years.
The President noted that while he’s limited on what he can say in regards to the ongoing investigation, “I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like these raise. I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don’t have all the facts but we know innocent people were killed because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
“It is in our power to do something about it,” he added. Obama went on to address the fact that the massacre took place at a black church, and noted, “The good news is I’m confident that the outpouring of unity… from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship, indicate the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome. That was certainly Dr. King’s hope.”
Obama’s speech came shortly after South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley emotionally spoke at a press conference in Charleston. As Gossip Cop also noted, dozens of celebrities have joined the mourning on social media, many using the hashtag “#PrayersforCharleston.” Check out the full video of Obama’s remarks below.