Obama in Charleston for shooting victim funeral

charleston shooting funeral obama

The latest in the Charleston church shooting. (All times local.)

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1:40 p.m.

President Barack Obama has arrived in Charleston for the funeral of a victim of last week’s shooting at a black church. Nine African-Americans were killed when a gunman opened fire during a Bible study.

Obama was scheduled to deliver a eulogy Friday afternoon for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Afterward, White House officials said, the president will also meet with the families of the victims.

Obama met Pinckney in 2007; Pinckney was an early supporter of Obama’s presidential campaign.

Air Force One touched down at 1:04 p.m. House Speaker John Boehner and first lady Michelle Obama were also on board. White House spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed that it was Boehner’s first flight aboard that aircraft during Obama’s presidency.

A separate aircraft was to bring a delegation of lawmakers.

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12:35 p.m.

Georgia Democrats are calling for an end to state holidays commemorating Confederate history, joining a push across the country to remove the battle flag and other symbols from government buildings after nine African-Americans were fatally shot at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

A 21-year-old white man identified by authorities as the shooter has been linked to an online diatribe professing allegiance to white supremacy and displaying the Confederate battle flag.

At a news conference Friday at the state Capitol in Atlanta, state Sen. Vincent Fort said that he is drafting legislation to prevent any Confederate holidays in Georgia. The state celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on a date determined by the governor to mark the end of the Civil War in Georgia and Confederate History Month.

The funeral for one of the nine victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was being held Friday. He and eight other blacks were killed June 17 during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a eulogy.

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11:45 a.m.

The funeral has started for one of the nine victims of a shooting at a historic African-American church that authorities have said was racially motivated.

The funeral for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney follows several hours of singing and mourning Friday at the packed-to-capacity College of Charleston’s TD Arena.

President Barack Obama is expected to speak later to eulogize Pinckney. First lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife will also attend.

The line of people waiting to get into the funeral stretched for a mile at one point.

Pinckney and eight other blacks were shot to death last week during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, has been charged in their murders.

Pinckney was the pastor of the church and also served as a state senator.

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11:30 a.m.

Police have announced that the locale for the funeral of one of the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting last week has reached capacity.

The College of Charleston’s TD Arena was full ahead of the funeral for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Police said they had to turn away hundreds of people who were still standing in a line that stretched several blocks. President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a eulogy.

Some people cried after they were turned away.

Remote viewings have been set up at county offices, a church in North Charleston and a museum downtown, among other places.

A band and a choir of several hundred men and women are leading the crowd of roughly 6,000 mourners in a medley of spiritual songs ahead of the funeral.

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10 a.m.

Three months before the deadly shooting rampage at Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that killed nine people, Dylann Roof was questioned by a Columbia police officer who found AR-15 magazines in his trunk, according to a police document released Friday.

Roof was spotted March 13 loitering in his car in a Columbia park by an off-duty police officer. It was the same officer who had arrested Roof a month earlier at a Columbia mall on a misdemeanor charge of possessing the drug Suboxone, a narcotic used to wean people from opiate addiction, the police report said.

The officer who arrived at the scene asked Roof why he was in the park and asked if he could search the car. Roof agreed and the officer found six 40-round magazines as well as part of an AR-15. Roof was questioned, but he was not charged.

The 21-year-old Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder in the deadly attack at the Charleston church last week. Police say he used a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the attack. Friends say Roof bought the gun in April with money he got for his birthday.

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9:20 a.m.

A hearse carrying the body of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and accompanied by a somber procession of mourners headed to an arena in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where his funeral will be held.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a eulogy for Pinckney, one of nine African-Americans gunned down at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Bible study last week. Pinckney was pastor of the church and also a state senator.

Thousands of people were gathered at the College of Charleston’s TD Arena for the funeral, which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

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8:10 a.m.

Crowds were gathering outside an arena were funeral services were to be held for one of the nine victims of the Charleston church shooting last week. President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver the eulogy.

Hundreds of people began lining up in a queue that stretched at least four blocks from the arena. Services were scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also served as a state senator.

Wanda Johnson of Anderson, South Carolina, said it was “monumental” that Obama was coming to support the community and the state and also said she was proud of the way people in her state have remained peaceful and united after unrest in other cities that followed the killings of unarmed African-Americans.

“I think it speaks a whole lot for the people of South Carolina,” she said.

Pinckney and eight other blacks were killed last week by a gunman during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, has been charged in their murders.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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