By BosNewsLife Americas Service
WASHINGTON/CHARLESTON (BosNewsLife)– U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday, June 18, that the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, would “rise again” after nine people were killed there by a white gunman, but he also suggested it was time for a fresh debate on gun control in his nation.
“Innocent people were killed, in part, because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” he said.
“Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear — at some point we, as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it, ” Obama added, speaking in the White House briefing room with Vice President Joe Biden standing at his side.
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“It is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now,” the president said. “But it’d be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”
Throughout his remarks, Biden stood grim-faced, his hands clasped in front of him, fingers laced, an expression of grief on his face, reporters noted. The vice president, whose elder son died of cancer earlier this month, looked worn, said Olivier Knox,.
Obama said he was shocked that the shootings happened at what he called a “sacred place”.
“It is more than a church. This is a place where Americans were seeking liberty. It was burned to the ground when its worshipers worked to end slavery,” he recalled, speaking about its history.
He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was at the scene and added that “more of the Bureau’s best are on their way to help.”
Obama noted that death happened in a “sacred place” where people were seeking peace and healing. But just as the church was once torched, it will this time rise again, America’s first black president said.
He spoke shortly after U.S. police said they detained shooting suspect Dylann Roof who allegedly killed nine people during an overnight prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the oldest black churches in the nation.
Roof, 21, was taken into custody in Shelby, North Carolina, more than a three-hour drive and roughly 350 kilometers (230 miles), north-northwest of Charleston, BosNewsLife monitored.
He was carrying a gun when arrested and later confessed the crime, police said.