Charleston Shooting Is 'Heartbreaking,' Says President Obama

The president comments on the fatal shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
12:52 | 06/18/15

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Transcript for Charleston Shooting Is 'Heartbreaking,' Says President Obama
This is an ABC news special report. Deadly church shooting tragedy and Charles. Good afternoon everyone I'm in year old opera on the air right now because President Obama is about to make a statement on that deadly church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina last night. The breaking news at this hour the suspect. This man take a look at and 21 year old. Dillon Rauf has just been captured in Shelby North Carolina he was arrested at a traffic stop. About three and a half hours from Charleston, South Carolina police telling us that a citizen. Saw this vehicle that black Hyundai and called the police who then made the arrest. And police are saying that rob was cool wall operative as he was. Being arrested police say that Rauf walked into the historic mother a manual AME church last night. He sat there for nearly an hour at Bible study and then opened fire killing nine people. Six women and three men including the church's pastor lament that Pete me who was also a prominent state senator there. In Charleston, South Carolina let's go now to ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl who has been waiting for the president to speak in a briefing room there. And Jonathan we're told the president has already made several phone calls them. President's been making several phone calls to folks leaders in the community we know he has reached out to the mayor of Charleston is also reached out. To the minority leader in the state senate in South Carolina who served in the state senator with pastor pick me expressing his condolences ricks told to expect a short statement here a short and somber statement. Echoing the words of his attorneys general who have short while ago said we will do everything in our power to help heal this community and make him whole again. Unfortunately Amy this is something the president has had to do over and over again here's the president. Good afternoon or voted. This morning. I spoke Wear them. Vice President Biden spoke with mayor Joseph Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our. Deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night. Michelle I know several members. Emanuel AME church. We knew their pastor. And equipment to picnic who. Along with eight others gathered in prayer fellowship and was last night. And to say. Our thoughts and prayers are Wear them and their families and their community. Doesn't. Say enough to convey heartache. And the sadness. And the anger. That Wi fi. Any. Death of this sort. Is a tragedy. Any. Shooting involving. Multiple victims and is a tragedy. There is something. Particularly heartbreaking about. Tibet happening and a place in which we seek solace. We seek peace. In the place of worship. Mother Manuel is in fact more than that your. This is a place of worship there was founded by. Have to Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because worships worshippers. Worked to end slavery. When there were laws banning all black church gatherings they conducted services. In secret. When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals. Some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches. From this church's steps. This is a sacred place. In the history. Charleston. And in the history rumor. The FBI is now on the scene what local police and more of the bureau's best are on the way to join them. It's very general was announced plans for their guide open a hate crime investigation. We understand that the suspect is in custody. And I'll let the best of law enforcement do its work to make sure the justice is served. Until investigations complete unnecessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details. Of the case. But I don't need to be constrained. About the emotions that. Tragedies like this race. I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this. Too many times. We don't have all the facts but we do know that once again innocent people. Were killed in part because someone who want inflict harm. Had no trouble getting their hands on ago. Now's the time for morning. For healing. But let's be clear. At some point we as a country we'll have to reckon with the fact. This type of mass violence does not happen and other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places. Would this kind of frequency. And it isn't our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town. Foreclose. Lot of those revenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge. Some points going to be important for the American people come to grips with. And for us to be able look shift how we think about. The issue of gun violence collectively. The fact that. This took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not first time the black churches have been attacked. And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy. And our ideals. The good news is I'm confident that the outpouring of unity. And strength and fellowship. And long across Charleston today. From all races. From all faiths. From all. Places of worship. In the great indicates the degree to which. Those all vestiges of patrons. Can be overcome. That certainly was Doctor King so. Just over fifty years ago after four little girls were killed in the bombing in a black church in Birmingham Alabama. He said they lit. Meaningful lives and they died noble. They say to each of us Doctor King said black and white alike that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely weird who murdered them but about the system the way of life. The philosophy. Which produced the murderers. Their deaths says to us that we must work passionately and unrelenting way. For the realization of the American dream. And one will hold off. We will discover the god walks within. And the god is able to have with you from the fatigue of despair. To the buoyancy of hope. Transformers dark and desolate ballots in two somewhat paths. Have been a piece. Herbert Pitman and his congregation understood that spear. They're Christian faith compel them to reach out. Not just to members of their coverage. Worked. Members their own. Communities. But all in me. They open their doors. To strangers. Right in her church in search if you. Or redemption. Mother Manuel church's congregation of risen before. And flames from an earthquake. Mother dark times to give hope to generations. Charles Tony it's and with our prayers and I love. The warrants you hope it will rise again. Now. The place of peace. Thank you. An emotional and passionate President Obama. Addressing the nation saying that he has had to make that type of statement one too many times taking on the issues of racial hatred and gun violence in this country. Do I turn now to ABC's Steve Lewis and Tommy who is on the scene there in Charleston where so many have gathered. Two more in the tragic events of last night Steve. Maybe we're at Morse AME church where several hundred people had gathered it's just a few blocks away from the church. For the shootings occurred for those people were killed. There were people of all races and all all faiths here holding hands and singing him mills and there are even more people who are inside. For saying that they're not going to be defined by the hate that happened here instead. They're going to show the people of Charleston can come together. There's going to be a lot of discussions here of course about this because being the government is investigating this as a hate crime. There will be a lot of answers that people expect to hear from this young man as he goes winds its way through the legal system. And a lot of people who are hoping that they can heal from this and move past this tragic. Steve so many people there in the ring they heat and brutal conditions there are. In the south Carolina's on the church handing out water and nice to make sure everyone who wants to be there tense day. Absolutely it is incredibly hot incredibly humid everyone here is sweating. There are number of people have had been moved into the shade where we are right now I don't know if you can see around me there. Everyone's fighting for the shade because it's it's so hot but that hasn't stopped. The hundreds who have come here to me and the hundreds more who inside also and brutal heat but I will say that. You know it's important to note that this church was such an important place for African Americans in this community. And at one time that was an entirely black neighborhood that the church was and so. So their there's a lot of pain that is coming from this incident here. Understandable four's Steve our thanks to you we want to turn now to. Our senior justice correspondent Pete Pierre Thomas joining us now from Washington as well and pared from walk us through what happens next to this 21 year old. Dillon Rauf. Well a senior law enforcement official I just spoke to said there breathing a great sigh of relief that the suspect was caught at this traffic stop. Law enforcement official we're greatly concerned about what he might do next. The source said today will be key because they are we checking residences associated with this young man it would try to confiscate any cell phones connected to him. They need to know one precise thing. Was he self motivated did he act alone they want to look at all of his associates that is key in the coming hours. That is the top priority of law enforcement are there others who may have supported him they want to know anyone I know now. Many answers that we will all be waiting for Pierre Thomas our thanks to you the president saying that any death. Is a tragedy any mass shooting is a tragedy but is particularly tragic. When it happens in a place of worship. We're gonna return now to our regular programming right now there'll be a complete wrap up tonight on world news tonight with David Muir who will be live from Charleston, South Carolina. And you can get the latest anytime at abcnews.com. Tiny robot can New York but the day. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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