MEDIA

MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Tears Up Covering Charleston Vigil

06/20/2015 05:56 pm ET

MSNBC reporter Thomas Roberts couldn't contain his emotions Friday while covering a vigil outside the Charleston, South Carolina, church where nine black churchgoers were massacred last week.

While the bond was being set for Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white man accused of the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roberts described the scene outside the parish when a mass of people showed up to join the vigil and tried to hold back tears.

"Can we look over here right now," he said, his voice cracking. "It's kind of heartbreaking. They’re singing and a whole flood of people showed up at the same time.”

Unbeknownst to Roberts, that crowd was likely thanks to conservative political commentator Glenn Beck, who flew down to Charleston and asked people to join him in prayer at the church. He can be seen in the background of Roberts' segment.

"You can see the outpouring of support for his community," Roberts continued after pausing to gather himself. "It goes all the way down the street of people who showed up at the exact same time that this arraignment was going on.”

Roberts apologized when he started to tear up again and another man stepped in to help continue the report.

During Roof's arraignment Friday, which took place at the same time as the vigil, some of the victims' relatives forgave the accused gunman.

"Hate won’t win,” Alana Simmons, granddaughter of victim Daniel Simmons, told Roof. "My grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate. Everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in love and their legacies live in love."

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