Hundreds of people have flocked to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, in the US city of South Carolina, after it reopened its doors to worshippers, four days after a white man shot nine black church members to death.
Sunday morning marked the first worship service at the church since Dylann Roof, 21, sat among a Bible study group and opened fire on Wednesday after saying that he targeted them because they were black, authorities said.
“It has been tough, it’s been rough, some of us have been downright angry, but through it all God has sustained us and has encouraged us,” said the Reverend Norvel Goff, who was appointed pastor to replace Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state politician, who was among those people killed.
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Charleston, described a “very emotional” church service attended by an estimated 2,000 people.
Church attendees sang gospel songs as thousands more gathered outside to show their solidarity following the shooting.