These Are The Victims Of The Charleston Church Shooting

Nine people were killed Wednesday night when a shooter opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, during a prayer meeting.

1. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

A 45-year-old mother of three, reverend, and high school track coach, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was killed while attending a prayer group at Emanuel AME Church.

Coleman-Singleton coached the girls track team at Goose Creek High School. The school remembered her Thursday with a post on its Facebook page.

Her cousin, Constance Kinder, told BuzzFeed News that Coleman-Singleton was a “beautiful spirit.”

“Sharonda was pretty on the outside and just as beautiful on the inside — the one thing I know for sure she loved the Lord so she was where she enjoyed being. She was only 45 years old, she still has three kids to raise.”

Kinder said that her Sharonda would always end a conversation or a text message with “love you cousin.”

Coleman-Singleton singing in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Courtesy of Singleton's brother, Mark Tony Jones

A picture of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton sits on a large paper signed by students, teachers and friends in Goose Creek .

Jeffrey Collins / AP Photo

 

In addition to her work with the high school, Coleman-Singleton was a reverend at Emanuel AME Church, according to their website.

Her son, Chris Singleton, posted on Twitter last night following the shooting.

Please say a prayer for my good friend! He lost his mom in the shooting last night. Please pray #CharlestonShooting

— Jantzen Raymond (@JayRaymond13)

7. Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Jeffrey Collins / AP

The call to preach came early for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was one of the nine victims fatally shot in the attack. Pinckney, 41, is also a state senator in South Carolina. Read more about Pinckney here.

Cynthia Hurd, a librarian, was killed in the shooting, the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL), confirmed Thursday.

Hurd, 54, worked at the public library for 31 years and was serving as the manager at St. Andrews Regional Library since 2011.

“Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth,” the CCPL said in a statement.

Elliott Summey, the chair of the Charleston County Council, said that the St. Andrews Regional Library would be named as the Cynthia Hurd Regional Library from this day as a “fitting honor” for someone who had spent 31 years there. “It’s the very least we can do for someone who was a true public servant,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

The CCPL closed all 16 of its locations to honor Hurd and all the victims of the shooting.

“Her loss is incomprehensible,” the CCPL said.

Friends and co-workers described her as a “wonderful” and “lovely” person in comments on CCPL’s Facebook page.

Lee Ann Carter, who once volunteered at the library, wrote that Hurd “quickly became a friend and I am devastated to hear of her death.”

Her brother, Malcolm Graham, described her as “a woman of faith” in a statement:

Statement from Malcolm Graham regarding the death of his sister Cynthia Hurd: #CharlestonShooting

— WSOCTV (@wsoctv)

Graham, a former state senator, told the Charlotte Observer that his sister would have turned 55 on Sunday.

He said it was “typical” of her to be at the church on Sunday. He also fondly described her as a “nerd” who got a masters in library science from the University of South Carolina.

Hurd lived with her husband Steve in the east side of Charleston, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Graham, who last saw his sister in May when she attended his daughter’s graduation, said she always acted like his mother. “She was the one who brought us closer,” Graham told the Charlotte Observer. “It’s so senseless. She didn’t deserve it.”

The only public post seen on Hurd’s page is a message to her brother in 2012, telling him which photo of his she liked the best: “Bro, the first one is my favorite and yes this is a little late but there was no deadline on this question (smile). Give all my love and call me soon!”

13. Tywanza Sanders

The 26-year-old was a recent graduate of Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina, and had most recently been working at a barber shop.

“He was a quiet, well known student who was committed to his education,” Flavia Eldemire, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Allen University, said in a statement.

“He presented a warm and helpful spirit as he interacted with his colleagues.”

Sanders graduated from the university’s Division of Business Administration in 2014.

Tessa Spencer, a reporter and anchor for local ABCNews4, told BuzzFeed News that Sanders had worked at a barber shop with her brother and that she last saw him two days ago.

“I saw him two days ago and said, ‘See you later,’ and he said, ‘Bye, Miss Tessa,’” Spencer said.

Sanders died while trying to save his 87-year-old aunt, Susie Jackson. When Roof aimed his gun at Jackson, Sanders asked him to point the gun at him instead, their family member, Kristen Washington told the New York Times. Roof then said, “It doesn’t matter, I’m going to shoot all of you.”

Sanders stood between Roof and his aunt to save her, and the first bullet struck him. He was the youngest victim of the shooting, and his aunt, the oldest.

Spencer described Sanders as being very outgoing but quiet at the same time, and said that he had an interest in broadcasting.

17. Myra Thompson

Myra Thompson, 59, was the wife of reverend Anthony Thompson, who is a vicar at Holy Trinity REC. The church confirmed her death in a tweet Thursday.

Pray for the Rev. Anthony Thompson, Vicar, Holy Trinity REC (ACNA) with the killing of his wife, Myra, in the #CharlestonShooting #Anglican

— ACNA (@The_ACNA)

19. Ethel Lee Lance

A 70-year-old sexton, who had worked at the church for more than 30 years, was killed in the shooting, her family confirmed to media outlets.

“I’m lost, I’m lost,” her grandson Jon Quil Lance told the Post and Courier as he waited outside the trauma center of Medical University Hospital, where the victims were being treated. He said his granny was “the heart of the family.”

“She’s a Christian, hardworking; I could call my granny for anything. I don’t have anyone else like that,” he told the Post and Courier.

Lance was the cousin of Susie Jackson, the oldest victim of the attack.

20. Rev. Daniel L. Simmons

Photo courtesy of the Simmons family

Simmons, a ministerial staff member at the church, died in the shooting, his daughter, Arcelia Simmons confirmed to ABC News.

She said that Simmons, 74, attended Bible study every Wednesday.

BuzzFeed News spoke to Simmons’ son, Daniel Simmons Jr., who said, “I’m doing very well with the grace and peace that God has planted.”

“I can’t believe that Rev. Dan Simmons is gone,” Sh’Kur Francis said on Twitter. “This man baptized me, married my parents, and eulogized my granny.”

On June 19, the Simmons family released a statement.

We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers concerning our beloved father, and grandfather, Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr. He was a distinguished man who served his God, country, and community well. His dedication to his profession and the AME church left a legacy for many to follow.

Rev. Simmons was the former pastor of several AME churches in the 7th Episcopal District, a war veteran, a member of Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity, Inc, and a loving father and grandfather. He was very proud of his family including the mother of his children, Annie Simmons, his two children Daniel Jr. and Rose Simmons, and his four grandchildren Alana, Daniel III, Ava, and Anya Simmons.

Although he died at the hands of hate, he lived in the hands of love. We believe Rev. Simmons would want people to celebrate his life in love and peace. Please continue to pray for our family and the families of the other victims.

22. Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Facebook

Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, was also one of the victims of the shooting, coroner Rae Wooten confirmed at a press conference on Thursday. The minister was a mother of four daughters. She sang in the church’s choir and spoke at the pulpit with Rev. Pinckney, the Post and Courier reported.

“My beautiful songbird. This is a hard one to swallow,” a family member, Laurie Middleton, wrote on Facebook.

The Middleton family released a statement on June 19.

The very thing many of us fight against—a deeply masked and far reaching culture of violence in our society—has devastated our family. This past Wednesday night during bible study and prayer service, a gunman filled with a racist heart entered the historical Mother Emanuel AME Church of Charleston, South Carolina and opened fire on the 12 persons gathered there. Only three people survived the attack.

Our loved one, Rev. Depayne Middleton, was among those killed. Ever since her death was confirmed, our family has been met with unspeakable pain and grief. Our hearts are troubled, but our faith remains steadfast, trusting and believing in God’s power to mend our broken hearts.

At this time of grave personal loss, we ask you for two things. First, please keep our family and our church community at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in your prayers. Next, please move away from the sidelines and unite together- regardless of your faith or religious practice- to seek an end to hatred and violence.

What happened to our family is part of a larger attack on Black and Brown bodies. To impact change, we must recognize the connection between racism, hate crimes and racialized policing. While the focus for this specific attack was on African Americans, we all have a responsibility to seek not only justice for the victims, but an end to racial injustice.

We should put our faith to action, making a conscious decision to be more than empty drums that have long lost their melodies. In South Carolina the Confederate flag – an unequivocal symbol of hate – remains on statehouse grounds. We must demand the flag be removed immediately – we cannot let icons of racism fly free within our society.

We call on all people, public officials, faith leaders and Americans from all walks of life to help address the festering sores of racism as it spurs an unforgiving culture of violence. This is a big task but may become more manageable if we work together and if all people see the attack in Charleston as an attack on their own families and loved ones.

25. Susie Jackson

David Goldman / AP

Walter Jackson holds a photo of his mother Susie Jackson.

Susie Jackson, 87, was also a victim of the attack, the coroner confirmed. She was a member of the Eastern Light Chapter No. 360 Order of the Eastern Star, according to a community activist on Twitter. Her nephew, Tywanza Sanders, died when he dived in between her and the shooter to save her. Jackson’s cousin, Ethel Lance, was also a victim of the attack.

Jackson was looking forward to attend a large family reunion in mid-July, the Post and Courier reported.

“She was one of the Golden Girls,” her sister Martha Drayton told the Post and Courier.

Her son, Walter Jackson, said his mother was a “loving person” who had “no animosity toward nobody.”

Walter Jackson told the Post and Courier that when he moved away from his home in the projects on the East Side, his mother gave his room to two young people who needed shelter in the neighborhood.

“She took in others,” he said. “She was just that type of person.”

Susie Jackson visited her family in Cle 2 wks ago. Family says she is a victim in Charleston church shooting.

— Kristin Volk (@Kristin_Volk)

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Jessica Simeone is a news assignment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Simeone at jessica.simeone@buzzfeed.com .
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.
Ema O'Connor is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ema O'Connor at ema.oconnor@buzzfeed.com.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at tamerra.griffin@buzzfeed.com.