President Obama and the first lady personally knew Pinckney, first meeting him during the president's 2008 campaign. The president has expressed his grief over the deaths of the nine Emanuel AME church members killed, including Pinckney in his remarks after Wednesday's shooting.
"We knew their pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night, and to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn't say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel," Obama said at the time.
The White House said additional details of the president and vice president's trip are expected to be released in the coming days.