Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator and the pastor of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was fatally shot in a mass shooting at the church Wednesday night that left nine dead, NBC News reports.
Pinckney, 41, and several others were shot at the historic black church by a white gunman, who is on the run. The shooting happened during a prayer meeting.
The other victims have not yet been identified.
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, police said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pinckney Was the Youngest African-American in South Carolina’s History to be Elected to the Legislature
Pinckney has been in South Carolina’s legislature since 1996, when he was elected as a state representative at the age of 23, according to his biography on the church’s website. He was the youngest African American ever elected to the legislature.
He was then elected to the State Senate in 2000.
A Beaufort, South Carolina, native, Pinckney graduated from Allen University in 1995, was a Princeton University Research Fellow in 1994, earned his Master’s of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina in 1999 and studied at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, according to his state senate website.
“It is a devastating loss and that’s putting it mildly,” said Reverend Joseph Darby, the presiding elder at Beaufort AME Church, in an interview on MSNBC. “He was an advocate for the people, he was a very caring and competent pastor, and he was a very brave man. Brave men sometimes die difficult deaths. He would’ve wanted to go out serving the people, it’s unfortunate that he’s gone.”
In 1999, Ebony Magazine named him as one of the African American community’s 30 leaders of the future.
Pinckney spoke about his inspirations in a 1999 profile by the Savannah Morning News, saying “In life, we are all faced with the opportunity to serve. It is at times a hard choice to make but those hard choices yield great rewards. Those rewards are mostly for others and not for ourselves. That’s what service is all about.”
Pinckney also told the newspaper, which named him one of its 20 Under 40:
In life, we are all faced with the opportunity to serve. It is at times a hard choice to make but those hard choices yield great rewards. Those rewards are mostly for others and not for ourselves. That’s what service is all about.
2. He Is Survived by His Wife & 2 Children
Pinckney and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Eliana and Malana. They live in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
The couple married in October 1999.
According to a Savannah Morning News article from 1999, Pinckney met the former Jennifer Benjamin in 1993 when he was a student at Allen University and she was at the University of South Carolina.
3. He Has Been a Pastor Since He Was 18
Pinckney began preaching at 13 and was first appointed to pastor at 18, according to the church’s website. He was named pastor at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2010.
In 1999, at 26 and just before his marriage, he became the pastor at Mt. Horr AME Church on Yonges Island in Charleston County, according to an article in the Savannah Morning News from the time.
“That (the ministry) is my first love,” he told the newspaper. “I see everything I do as an extension of the ministry. It’s all about service. In the community, in the African American community, one person ought to say something and that is the minister. The minster is paid by the people. He doesn’t work for a big company. He doesn’t represent a particular special interest.”
He also has preached in Columbia and Beaufort, South Carolina.
4. He Stood Alongside Other Pastors at Rallies After the Walter Scott Shooting
Pinckney and other South Carolina pastors recently held rallies after the shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, by a white North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager. The shooting stirred up racial tensions in the Charleston region.
He also played a key role in pushing for body camera legislation.
5. The Gunman Has Not Yet Been Identified
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) June 18, 2015
The gunman has been described as a white male in his 20s with blonde hair with a slender build. He is believed to have acted alone.
Original Article Found At http://heavy.com/news/2015/06/clementa-pinckney-dead-charleston-church-shooting-victim-black-church-pastor-ame-shot-injury/