Justice Department To Open Hate Crime Investigation Into Charleston Church Shooting

06/18/2015 08:54 am ET | Updated Jun 18, 2015

The Justice Department said federal authorities are opening a hate crime investigation into a shooting that took place Wednesday at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine people dead.

The DOJ's Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office are taking part in the investigation, which will work in conjunction with the state's investigation.

Read more developments on the Charleston shooting below:

06/19/2015 10:10 PM EDT

Murdoch Owned New York Post Calls Removal Of Confederate Flag

The New York Post's editorial board joined the chorus opposing South Carolina continuing to fly the Confederate flag at the State Capitol after the shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, writing, "Time to take it down, folks."

The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the current chief executive of 21st Century Fox and its property, the conservative Fox News.

More from the Post:

Yes, some white Southerners point to it as a symbol of regional pride. But it represented a bloody rebellion against the United States in defense of slavery.


The Confederate flag isn’t quite as clear-cut; many no doubt honestly display it to honor ancestors or just the "rebel spirit." But at core it remains the emblem of those who fought to defend secession and slavery.

That flag has no place on any government institution.

06/19/2015 9:13 PM EDT

Reverend Makes Fervent Call To Take Down Confederate Flag

During a Friday night vigil for the victims in the shooting at a Charleston church, Rev. Nelson Rivers III of Charity Missionary Baptist Church offered support to the families of those killed, and made an impassioned call for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina State Capitol.

Reverend Calls For Confederate Flag To Come Down

During a Friday vigil for the victims of the Charleston church shooting, Rev. Nelson Rivers III passionately called for South Carolina to take the Confederate flag down from the state Capitol.See what else was said at the vigil http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/charleston-shooter-failed-miserably-to-divide-city-mayor-say?bffbnews&utm_term=4ldqpho#4ldqpho

Posted by BuzzFeed News on Friday, June 19, 2015

(h/t BuzzFeed News)

06/19/2015 8:57 PM EDT

Lawmakers Moving Away Confederate Flag

On Friday night, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) tweeted, "We will have many conversations over the coming days and weeks, and the placement of the Confederate flag will certainly be one of those topics."

Also, South Carolina State Rep. Norman Brannon (R) told MSNBC that he would sponsor a bill that would "take down" the Confederate flag from state government buildings.

06/19/2015 7:54 PM EDT

Vigil Held For Charleston Church Victims

NBA Star Dwight Howard in attendance.

Pray for Charleston. Pray for our nation. Pray for peace. #breatheagain.

A photo posted by Dwight Howard (@dwighthoward) on

06/19/2015 7:25 PM EDT

Martin O'Malley Is 'Pissed,' Calls For Assault Weapons Ban

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley didn't mince words in the wake of the massacre of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston.

"I'm pissed," the former Maryland governor said in a Friday email to supporters, in which he derided Congress for its inability to pass tighter gun control measures.

“I’m pissed that after an unthinkable tragedy like the one in South Carolina yesterday, instead of jumping to act, we sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in,” O'Malley wrote.

Read more here. -- Kim Bellware

06/19/2015 7:12 PM EDT

What It's Like To Be Black And Live Under A White Neighbor's Confederate Flag HuffPost's Dave

HuffPost's Dave Jamieson reports from Summerville, South Carolina, just outside Charleston: Annie Caddell proudly flies the Confederate flag in her front yard here in the Charleston suburbs. She maintains a cache of spare flags on her front porch, replacing the one on her white flagpole every few months, after it gets tattered. A visitor to her home -- if the "no trespassing" sign doesn't turn him back -- is greeted near the door by a green, imitation street sign that reads "Confederate Circle."

Caddell said she'll die before her stars and bars stop blowing in the wind.

"Would you let your family history die like that? I don’t think so," Caddell, who's "pushing 56," said. "That’s tantamount to treason in my family. You just don’t do that."

Her neighbors know to take her at her word. Read more here.

06/19/2015 7:06 PM EDT

Louisiana Gov. Orders Flags To Half-Staff

In a statement, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, "Out of respect for those murdered in Charleston, I issued an Executive Order to fly flags over state buildings at half-staff."

06/19/2015 5:39 PM EDT

Roof Family: Shock, Grief Over Shooting

The family of suspected Charlotte church shooter Dylann Roof issued a statement on Friday night, expressing shock over the killings, and offering sympathies and condolences to families of victims.

The full statement:

Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night,” the statement continues.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victim's families offering God's forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.

06/19/2015 4:08 PM EDT

Rick Santorum: Charleston Shooting 'Clearly' Motivated By Race

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) didn't equivocate Friday when asked about the nature of an attack by a white gunman on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"It was clearly racially motivated. Clearly," Santorum told The Huffington Post at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C.

The presidential candidate took issue with news reports that said he blamed the attack on a broader assault against religious liberty. He explained that he didn't know all the facts when he was first asked about the shooting on Thursday morning.

Read the full story here.

-- Igor Bobic

06/19/2015 4:07 PM EDT

Justice Department To Expedite $29 Million Grant Funding To South Carolina For Victim Assistance

The Department of Justice will expedite a $29 million formula victim assistant grant funding to South Carolina, according to DOJ spokesman Kevin Lewis. Some of the grant funding can be used to help victims of the recent tragedy at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

--Ryan Reilly

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