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U.S. House of Representatives Observes Moment of Silence for Charleston Victims

by Phil Helsel /

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday observed a moment of silence for the victims of last week’s deadly shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The names of the nine people killed in the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — the Rev. Clementa Pinckney; Tywanza Sanders; Cynthia Hurd; the Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton; Ethel Lance; Susie Jackson; the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.; and Myra Thompson — were all read.

The moment of silence was led by Rep. Mark Sanford, a Republican who represents South Carolina and is a former governor of the state.

Alleged gunman Dylann Roof, 21, who is white, is charged with nine counts of murder. Authorities have called the killings a racially motivated hate crime.

Sources say Roof has confessed to the killings, which took place during a Bible study at Emanuel AME, one of the nation's oldest African-American churches.

The killings have prompted calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina's statehouse. Several large retailers, including Walmart and Amazon, have said they will no longer offer products featuring the divisive symbol, which some see as hateful and others see as part of the Southern heritage.

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