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A white man walked into a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and opened fire during a Bible study class, killing nine people Wednesday evening.

The suspect was still at large early Thursday morning. And the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South, is being investigated as a hate crime.

“The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

Eight churchgoers died at the scene; a ninth at a hospital, police said.

Officials wouldn’t say how many people were at the Bible study during the shooting. There were survivors, said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, but he didn’t elaborate.

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source: CNN.com

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