Charleston Shooting Mourners Vow: ‘We Have to Fight Together’

Three strangers joined hands in mourning and prayer near the shooting site.

BySUSANNA KIM
June 18, 2015, 11:33 AM

— -- The Charleston shooting at the South Carolina church on Wednesday has left residents stunned, bringing strangers from the community to pray and mourn together.

Nine people from a bible study group were killed at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church last night by a suspect identified by police as Dylann Roff, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina.

This morning, Martha Watson, a resident in Charleston, gathered with two other residents she didn't know to hold hands in prayer on Elizabeth Street, outside the police barriers.

"Listening to these two ladies this morning, it's really inspiring to feel the message of Martin Luther King, how tragedy brings us together. And we really have to fight together to go on, to live a civilized life where race doesn't matter," Watson told ABC News' Steve Osunsami.

PHOTO: In this image taken from video on June 18, 2015, Tarsha Moseley, left, Martha Watson, and Toby Smith pray at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
In this image taken from video on June 18, 2015, Tarsha Moseley, left, Martha Watson, and Toby Smith pray at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
Alex Sanz/AP Photo

Toby Smith, who joined Watson in prayer, said, she "just had to be here," and, "That's the power of Charleston."

"Hate may have motivated this, but hate is not going to win. And it won't win if we stick together and get something good to come out of this."

Tarsha Moseley, the third woman in the prayer circle, said, "We're not going to allow us, as a people, to be divided. We'll continue to come together and continue to trust and believe that something greater is going to be brought out of this in the midst of the tragedy."

"For something like this to happen, it just just shakes us, because we're all brothers and sisters," Watson said.

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