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Zeigler Urges Churches to Arm Parishioners in Wake of Attack on South Carolina Church

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Around 9:00 pm on June 17, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof assassinated South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney (D) and eight parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, which was pastored by Sen. Pinckney. In response to the tragedy, State Auditor Zig Zeigler recommended on Facebook that people should go to Church armed.

Auditor Zeigler, a strong 2nd Amendment proponent said, “Church attendees should pack. Each church should have a vigilance committee of individuals who pack and who develop their own plans for defense from an attack. Calling 911 and waiting for government defense will not work. Without armed citizens in the church congregation, they are sitting ducks for criminals and terrorists.”

Roof attended an 8:00 pm Bible study with Pinckney and his parishioners. At the end of the Bible study he pulled out a weapon and began firing. The first 911 calls reached authorities at 9:05 pm.

South Carolina state legislators are shocked by the tragic loss of one of their own. A special session to deal with the budget on Thursday turned into an impromptu memorial service, as South Carolina lawmakers responded to the attack.

Longtime Pinckney family friend and community leader, Jerome Brown told WIST TV of Pinckney, “He was the kind of guy that if you could not get along with there was something wrong with you…He certainly will be missed…He loved his Church.  He loved his people.  He loved his family.  He loved his kids.”

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Pinckney had been a pastor since he was 18 and a member of the state legislature since he was 23.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1816 and is celebrated as the oldest Black Church in the South.

Sen. Pinckney is survived by his wife and two daughters, who reportedly were at the Church that night.

Roof has been apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina by authorities.

Roof is a 21-year-old White man.  Sen. Pinckney and the other victims are Black.  The slayings are being investigated as a hate crime by authorities.

Roof reportedly told a woman who he allowed to survive the attack so she could tell the world what happened, “I had to do it. You rape our women, and are taking over our country.”

Dylan Storm Roof dropped out of High School in the ninth grade, and had been arrested as recently as March for trespassing, and drugs.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) was one of the last people to see Pinckney alive as the Reverand had attended a presidential race fundraiser for Hillary Clinton hours earlier. Clinton said in a statement on Twitter, “Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

South Carolina House Minority Leader, Todd Rutherford told the Associated Press that Pinckney, 41, served his flock as well as his constituents:

“He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should,” Rutherford (D-Columbia) said of Pinckney. “He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody.”

Auditor Zeigler has been a vocal proponent of Second Amendment Rights for many years.


Original Reporting by WIST TV, WCSC TV, and Fox News contributed to this report.  

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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