CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Senior Pastor, lawmakers, and federal agencies are reacting after the US Department of Justice announced an $88 million settlement with the families of victims and survivors of the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church.
The settlement was over a faulty background check that allowed the shooter, Dylann Roof, to purchase the gun.
Reverend Eric Manning, the Senior Pastor at Mother Emanuel, released the following statement:
“We must always remember the lives that were taken on June 17, 2015, by a white supremacist. We must
always remember the five survivors who continue to live their life day in and day out with strength and
courage at times suffering in silence. Today’s settlement marks a step forward for the families of the
Emanuel 9, the Survivors, and our community. We are truly thankful for those who never gave up and
continued to fight for the families and the survivors to ensure that their loved ones received justice. We
will continue to work with legislators to close the “Charleston” loophole and ensure that South Carolina
has hate crime legislation.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that he is “very pleased to hear that the Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with the families of the victims of the mother Emanuel attack.” He went on to say he has “been very supportive of the families’ rights to pursue legal recourse because of the failure of the NICS program to adequately pick up prior offenses of Dylann Roof.”
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said “while the $88 million settlement is welcomed news, no amount of money can make up for the lives that were lost.” He continued, saying “as the eyes of the nation are on South Carolina, I am encouraged by the power of grace and the spirit of unity this community continues demonstrating as we heal and move forward.”
Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC) acknowledged that “no amount of money can ever bring a loved one back,” but said she hopes “this settlement brings some level of comfort to these beautiful Charleston souls. God Bless Mother Emanuel.”
State Senator Marlon Kimpson said that the settlement was a “great historic result under horrible circumstance,” and that he is “continuing to pray for peace and closure for these families.”
State Representative J.A. Moore, who lost his sister in the massacre, said “financial restitution is not justice. Real justice will occur when the hate that drove Dylann Roof to commit that terrible act — which took away my sister — is driven from our society. The Charleston loophole is still open. I will keep fighting to end it.”
The FBI Columbia Field Office released a statement reading in part:
“The FBI Columbia field office worked tirelessly with our state and local partners, and resources in the community to pursue justice for those victims. Today, we still share in their grief, and hope the settlements reached bring some relief to those directly affected.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland called the shooting “a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors.” He said that “since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims.”
Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.