Rev. Clementa Pinckney Dies in Charleston Shooting

Pinckney was the leader of the church where the shooting occurred.

ByABC News
June 18, 2015, 1:30 PM

— -- Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator, was remembered today as one the nine people killed in a Wednesday shooting at a Charleston church.

"It is with heartache and sadness to learn that one of our beloved Senators has been killed in the brutal massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last night," South Carolina Sen. Hugh Leatherman said in a statement today. "Senator Clementa C. Pinckney was a leader in the Senate of South Carolina, a strong advocate for his constituents, a great pastor and community leader, but most importantly, a cherished and loved husband, father and son.

"The entire Senate of South Carolina extends our love and sympathy to Jennifer, Eliana, Malana, and to the rest of his family."

Pinckney, a father of two, was inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church when a gunman opened fire.

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, speaking to ABC News, called Pinckney the "moral conscience of the General Assembly."

"The state of South Carolina has lost a giant," Kimpson told ABC News.

Pinckney was both the head of the historic Charleston church and also a longtime member of the state's Democratic Party.

Pinckney was 41 and had been active in his religious community leadership for nearly three decades, according to his biography on the church's website.

His political career began in 1996 when he was first elected to the state's House of Representative. Then in 2000, he was elected to the state senate and has held that role ever since, according to the site.

Media reports note that Pinckney was involved in some of the activist events that took place in the nearby city of North Charleston immediately after the Walter Scott shooting, where an unarmed man was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in April. His activism was echoed by Rev. Al Sharpton, who traveled to South Carolina for some of those events.

Other victims have also been identified, including The Rev. Sharonda Singleton, another member of the Emanuel AME Church ministerial staff.

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