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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Suspect In Emanuel AME Church Shooting Captured, Deemed A Lone Wolf; Remembering Suzie Jackson; Remembering Victims of Church Shooting in South Carolina. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 18, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:11] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. We are live tonight from Charleston, South Carolina where just over 24 hours ago, a prayer meeting that came a blood bath. A gunman opening fire inside the historic Emanuel AME church, this church just behind me, murdering nine people in cold blood as they studied the bible.
Tonight, we have exclusive images that showed just how calculated this attack was. One of the victims actually took these images. In this image, you can see the gunman sitting at a table, that's the back of his head, witnesses say he sat quietly there for roughly an hour before pulling out his gun. This image shows the reverend, Clementa Pinckney, the church pastor and a state senator or possibly another church leader, it is hard to tell who is sitting at the same table. Now, he obviously had no inkling of what was about to happen. It may be the last image of him alive.
Tonight the suspect is in custody. Here he is, boarding a plane a few hours ago in North Carolina where he was caught earlier today. He landed back here at the air force base in Charleston just a few minutes ago. Now ordinarily, as you may know, we don't name shooting suspects or show their pictures on this program. We don't believe they should get any kind of recognition. But because the investigation of this alleged hate crime, many are also referring to it as an act of domestic terrorism, because it's ongoing in its early stages, and police are still looking for more information about this person, we are going to show his face and use his name, but sparingly on the program tonight.
And to that point if you have any information, any information at all about the suspect or the case, be sure to alert authorities. There is a lot of information to get to here on the ground over the course of this hour, but first, the tragedy of last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Active shooter, multiple people down.
COOPER (voice-over): Wednesday night bible study erupts in gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All units responding 110 Calhoun street.
COOPER: The shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, one of the oldest churches in the south and once part of the underground railroad during slavery. At the scene, eight are pronounced dead, six females, two males, another man dies later in the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several victims regarding that active shooter, give me at least four medics. Plus, three supervisors on that call please.
COOPER: The gunman manages to evade officers in the forensic manhunt in (INAUDIBLE). Charleston police department then releases this photo of a young man entering a church on Wednesday evening.
CHIEF GREGORY MULLEN, CHARLESTON POLICE: We have investigators that are out tracking leads that are coming in. And we will continue to do that until we find this individual who has carried out this crime tonight and bring him to justice.
COOPER: As daylight breaks on Thursday, the manhunt continues and the suspected shooter is identified. Meantime, a community tries to comprehend what is incomprehensible.
GOV. NIKKI HAILEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We woke up today, and the heart and soul of South Carolina has broken. And so we have some grieving to do, and we have some pain we have to go through.
COOPER: The president noticeably shaken.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There's something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.
COOPER: By midmorning, authorities receive a tip from someone who thinks they recognize the shooter's car driving Shelby, North Carolina some 250 miles west of Charleston.
CHIEF JEFFREY LEDFORD, SHELBY, NORTH CAROLINA: 10:43 a.m., officers observed the vehicle traveling west on Nixon Boulevard. The suspect was stopped by officers at 10:24 a.m. The officers identified the only occupant of the vehicle still enroute. He was taken into custody at 10:49 a.m. he was transported to the Shelby police department.
COOPER: The gunman still armed taken into custody during a traffic stop without incident.
JOHN STRONG, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN-CHARGE: The subject is now in custody. The immediate threat to the community no longer exists, and we'll let the legal process run its course.
COOPER: As we said, the investigation obviously in its early stages. Martin Savidge joins us now with the latest.
So, he has been brought back here. Do we know where he is? What is the situation?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He will be held at the county detention center. That is without a doubt. He is probably being held in isolation. I can't imagine they would let him anywhere near the general population. And then on top of that, he is going to have probably suicide watch placed upon. They want to make sure nothing, absolutely nothing happens to him.
[20:05:08] COOPER: And what more are we learning about the actual investigation at this point?
SAVIDGE: Well, what is going to happen is they've been focused, of course, on finding him. Now they're going to be focused on finding out more about him. And why he was motivated to do what he did, where he got that gun. Was it the same weapon that he allegedly was given by his family on his birthday?
COOPER: Right, allegedly given by on his 21st birthday, which was in April, after, as my understanding, after he had been brought up on charges of trespassing and also some drug charges.
SAVIDGE: You know, the charges against him, I mean, they're relatively minor, and they're certainly not an indication of what allegedly does transpired inside of this church. As far as the weapon, there are reports that his parents hung on to that weapon for some time, only allowed him to have access to it on a limited basis until very recently. But that's still yet to be confirmed.
And then what's going to happen is, of course, you probably have the public defender, that's going to be a bond hearing, that should be relatively quickly the next 24 to 48 hours, and that's probably going to be done just knowing the state via video link. And then the question becomes, alright, who's going to go first to prosecute. It's obviously a capital offense. It's going to be a death penalty case, and you also have a federal case looking into a hate crime.
COOPER: Hate crime. That's part of the investigation right now.
Martin, appreciate the update.
Throughout the hour, we're going to be focusing, obviously, on the victims of this mass killing. The lives they lived and the loved ones that they have left behind. There are so -- there's been such an outpouring in this community.
Sylvia Johnson is joining us right now. She's very close with the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. A close friend of her survived the attack. She described what happened to.
Ms. Johnson, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
First of all, how are you holding up? How is this community holding up?
SYLVIA JOHNSON, FRIEND SURVIVED SOUTH CAROLINA CHURCH SHOOTINGS: Well, we're doing our best. We are doing our as a family. We are communicating with each other, and we loving on each other, we're encouraging each other, and doing our best on that part. The community is doing such a superb job. And being there for us, we went to a prayer vigil this afternoon, and I mean, just an outpours of love and support is just, is awesome.
COOPER: A friend of yours was inside and described to you what happened. Explain to me what you heard about what happened, because this man was allegedly in there for an hour.
JOHNSON: Yes. Yes. He came in and he asked for the minister, where's the minister. And --
COOPER: Do you know if he asked for the minister by name?
JOHNSON: No, he just asked, where's the minister? And --
COOPER: We still don't know exactly why he picked this church, and he knew about the importance of this church, the history of it or not.
JOHNSON: Yes, I am not sure about that information. But from what I have heard, he asked for my cousin and my cousin being the nice kind welcoming person he is, he welcomed him to his congregation, welcome in to the bible study. And he sat there for an hour.
COOPER: Taking part in the bible study?
JOHNSON: Yes. Listening. And at the conclusion of the bible study, they just heard a ringing of a loud noise and it was just awful from what I understand.
COOPER: Your friend, your cousin is the pastor --
COOPER: -- has been killed. You friend who was there, did your friend say anything, did this young man say anything? Because there were reports he said, I'm here to kill black people?
JOHNSON: Yes. Well, I didn't hear that from her, from what I heard is after shooting a couple rounds, her son tried to talk him into not committing any more acts of murder.
COOPER: Her son actually tried to talk him down?
JOHNSON: Yes, he did. He tried to talk him down. And her son and grand baby had already planned they were going to just act as though they were already killed but the son was concerned about Reverend Clementa. And he got up, and that's when the gunman said, you know, after the young man tried to stop him from doing what he wanted to finish off. He said no, you raped our women and you have taken over the country.
COOPER: You've raped our women and you've taken over the country?
JOHNSON: I have to do what I have to do.
COOPER: And he continue to --
JOHNSON: And he shot the young man, his mother was there, and she witnessed. She pretends as though she was dead, she was shot and dead. But she watched her son fall and laid there, and she laid there in his blood.
[20:10:15] COOPER: She laid there in his blood?
JOHNSON: Yes, she did. And when I got to talk with her, her entire dress was just drenched in blood. She said, that's my son's blood. He was a good boy.
COOPER: And he passed?
JOHNSON: And he passed. Along with one of her aunts, yes.
COOPER: What happens now?
JOHNSON: All we can do is just pray and be there for one another. Support one another, rally together and just ask God for strength.
COOPER: And tell me about your cousin, about the pastor. Because I have heard so many just incredible things about, you know, pastor at age 18?
COOPER: He became a state senator at 23?
JOHNSON: Yes. He was an incredible young man. He always knew what he wanted, even though his mother told me the story once the way he wanted to -- he would just sit home and read books, and she said, no, you have to get out and play ball. You need to get out and play foot like my other son. And he didn't want to do it, but she pushed him into it, and he did, and he got hit by a ball and he got injured. And she made up her mind at that point, that's it. I'm going to let you do what you need to do. So that's what he did. He was just an incredible young man. He was focused, what he wanted, he focused on it.
COOPER: He had his eyes on the prize?
JOHNSON: Yes, he did.
COOPER: Do you know how long they stayed in there? I mean, after -- do you know how long the shooting went on? Because I understand, he had to reload, I think.
JOHNSON: Yes. From what I was told, he unloaded five times.
COOPER: Reloaded five times.
JOHNSON: Reloaded five times.
COOPER: And then did he simply walk out?
JOHNSON: Yes, he told one of the elderly members, he asked, did I shoot you? And she said, no.
COOPER: He asked her if he had shot her.
JOHNSON: Yes. And she said no. And he said good, because we need a survivor, because I'm going to kill myself.
COOPER: He said he was going to kill himself?
JOHNSON: He said he would kill himself.
COOPER: Why did he say that he needed a survivor?
JOHNSON: So someone could tell the story.
COOPER: That's what he actually said to this person?
COOPER: He wanted a witness alive to tell the story?
JOHNSON: Yes. But he walked out and he did let the elderly member go, and she's a survivor as well.
COOPER: Oh, my God.
Do you think this -- can this community rebuild? Can it continue?
JOHNSON: Yes, I believe we can. We have strong bonds here with each other.
COOPER: What do you want to see happen to this young man?
JOHNSON: I just want to make sure justice is done. We pray for him as well as his family. We just pray that justice is done. But I know he has a mother and a father, and they're heartbroken as well. So we don't wish any ill on them. We just want justice to be done, and we want the family to know we're praying as well.
COOPER: That's a pretty big thing to do at a time like this?
JOHNSON: Yes, but we have to do that.
COOPER: Well, thank you for talking to us. We are sorry under this circumstances.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
COOPER: And please give your best to all your friends.
Sylvia Johnson, just incredible stories we're hearing about what went on inside that church.
Now, just ahead I'll talk to the mayor of Charleston about what the past 24 hours have been like here for this community. How the community is coping and where the investigation may be heading, we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [20:17:34] HALEY: We woke up today, and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken. And so we have some grieving to do. And we have some pain we have to go through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was South Carolina's Governor Nikki Haley visibly breaking down earlier today now. We are live from Charleston, a city beside itself with grief, just behind me, the historic Emanuel AME church were 24 hours ago, the unthinkable happened. A gunman open fire during a bible study session murdering nine people after sitting with them for roughly an hour, apparently passing himself off as a sincere participant. A short time ago, the suspect arrested in North Carolina this morning, was flown back here to Charleston.
Joining me now is Charleston mayor, Joe Riley.
Mr. Mayor, your thoughts tonight on what you've seen here in the last 24 hours and how this community is doing?
MAYOR JOSEPH RILEY JR., CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, the heartbreak is extraordinary. And the pain that the family's feel and the community feels, the enormous outpouring of love and support from this community has been extraordinary. Today there were prayer vigils all over the community. Interfaith church meetings and services and we created a fund midmorning so people could have something to do to help. And people started flooding with calls and contributions they wanted to make. This is really --.
COOPER: That's the fund for the families of the victims.
RILEY: Funds to the family's victims and for the church, you know, lose its pastor. So the heartbreak was felt throughout the community. Was felt in the family of this wonderful historic AME church. But every citizen of our city, to have your heart broken by this, unspeakable hateful act of this person that didn't live here, lived 110 miles away. And why he came in to this community and this congregation and sitting in the church for 45 minutes, and then pulled out a gun and killed the people. I can't possibly begin to fathom why.
[20:20:03] COOPER: Is there any more information about why he picked this church? This church has such an important role not only the history of this community but the African-American community in America.
RILEY: It's a mother Emanuel it's called. I don't know that. It might be. And it eventually we will understand more as they interrogate this hateful crazy person, but I don't know. But the wonderful church, pastor was a prince of a man. A wonderful pastor. Leader in the senate. His presence, he was tall, he had a deep voice, but he spoke softly.
COOPER: He became a pastor at 18?
RILEY: Yes, he was an incredible man. And I worked with him on the fund-raising drive, to create an elevator for the church. It will have one. I worked, helped him raise money for these people. Such an important part of our community. And it's a tragedy and awful (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: Do you view this - I mean, authorities are, you know, looking to this as a hate crime, obviously. Do you view this as an act of terrorism?
RILEY: Well, I don't know how you define terrorism. I don't know. I think I would consider it a hate crime. I think obviously, for him to pick an African-American church and shoot African-American members. There's something weird and bad and hateful going on in his mind.
COOPER: Can this church recover? Can this community recover? What is your message to African-Americans in this community in particular?
RILEY: Well, I think the message is what they felt in this community. I mean, we walk around the community and feel the outpouring of love from all citizens of all colors and backgrounds, you know. This is a very together community. Black and white, and young or old, and diverse people, we built so much together, we're working hard to build a beautiful African-American museum and work on projects together. So, the community across racial lines is torn but the outpouring of love, you know, in life it's now how you fall but how you get up and move forward. And you will see this community and the love they give to the families and to this church to the knitting that will go on will be remarkable, I believe.
COOPER: Well, Mayor, I appreciate your time.
RILEY: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, what we've learned about the 21-year-old behind this horrific attack, his possible motivation and the warning signs that were missed.
[20:26:54] COOPER: Well, the sense of grief here in Charleston, South Carolina is simply overwhelming. Nine beloved members of the community are dead for no reason. Gunned down inside the church behind me as they studied the bible. If there is any solace to be found at all, it may come from the fact that suspected shooter is in custody.
Now, we are going to be - we have been gathering a lot of information about the nine people whose lives were lost. We are going to tell you about them as much as we have learned about them later on on the broadcast and even tomorrow night, we hope we know even more to tell you about because we want the focus to be on them.
But as we reported, this is an ongoing investigation and police are looking for more information about the alleged shooter. He was apprehended this morning in Shelby, North Carolina, which is about a four hour drive from Charleston. The tip that led to his capture came from a woman named Debbie Dills, a florist with a keen eye and the courage to do the right thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBBIE DILLS, SPOTTED CHURCH SHOOTER SUSPECT: Something told me to, I'm telling you, divine intervention. I'm telling God had me where I need to be. I'm not going to telling you I wasn't afraid, I was scared. I was scared. You know, I just kept saying, Lord, you know, if I can just get there, and I can do it safely. I wasn't going to try to put myself or anybody else in danger. If I can do it safely, get his tag number anyway, you know. And I mean, he wasn't driving that fast when I see him. So, you know, and if it's not meant for me to catch him, I won't catch him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She caught him all right. She recognized his vehicle, and saw him, alerted authorities. As we said, the suspect waived extradition after his arrest. Now minutes ago, a plane carrying him landed at the air force base here in Charleston.
Drew Griffin joins me now with more.
This is not the first time this guy has been arrested. Most recently I understand he was arrested a couple times earlier this year, right?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, twice this year, once in February at a mall, not too far from where I'm standing. This is his high school in Lexington, South Carolina. And he was at the mall acting strange, asking very odd questions to a couple of store clerks, what's the schedule of the employees, how many associates are here. One associate was so nervous, because she says he had his hand in his pocket.
She thought he might have a gun at that time, this was in February. Police were called, they confronted him and they found this prescription drug, which he didn't have a prescription for, (INAUDIBLE). So he was arrested and he was also banned from the mall, Anderson, for a year. He showed up again at the mall in April and then was arrested for trespassing. So he was arrested twice at the same mall just months ago.
COOPER: And you've been hearing more about his past, what have you learned?
GRIFFIN: Yes. And you know, we don't want to dwell on him. And we are not saying his name, but when the grief subsides, the more we are learning about this guy, the more infuriating I think it is going to be for the victims and for Charleston itself. There were warning signs all over the place, Anderson. Warning signs specifics - specifically to this type of act. We know he was a ninth grade drop out. He had to take ninth grade twice here. It doesn't appear that he finished high school. He was bouncing around schools, unemployed. He was getting deep into drugs, according to some of his friends. His grandfather told "The Wall Street Journal" he was concerned. Because his grandson was becoming a loner and espousing some very hateful, racial hatreds, talking crazy talk and very violent things about black people specifically.
So, you have this unemployed drug using person who's a loner, starting to get very much into this kind of racial segregationist type of environment and this is the person to whom we are reportedly told was given a gun on his 21st birthday. So, I think once we get past this period of mourning and we start looking into this investigation, there are going to be some very, very serious questions about where were the warning signs missed and why wasn't something done before this could have taken place. Anderson.
COOPER: And Drew, if in fact he was given a handgun on his 21st birth day, which was in April, that would be months after he was already arrested for drugs and showing up oddly at this mall, asking about people's schedules and scaring employees. And also, I guess, after he returned to that mall, trespassing. So, I guess, the question is, why would parents give this guy a handgun, given his legal trouble and apparently trouble other members of the family saw?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, and that, of course, is a question that we'd like to ask the family members. We have reached out in many, many different ways to friends and family, and they have been very, very tight lipped. We'll also be looking into the legal aspect of it, we don't know how far along these cases have gone. Can you give this guy a gun, can he buy a gun himself, was he convicted of any kind of a felony which might have prevented that. All those records are yet to be exposed. But at this point, it seems to be that even with all these troubles, he was given a gun by his family. Was that a smart move? Obviously, in hindsight no. What was the reasoning behind it, we'll have to ask them.
COOPER: Right. Andrew, I appreciate the reporting, we'll continue to follow that. And - obviously, investigators are continuing to follow it, with the investigation now. Still, very much underway. Police are looking for as much information as they can possibly get. It is very early stages, last night's church massacre is being investigated as a hate crime, as we mentioned. Here's one of the images of the suspect that has surfaced. If you look at it, those are apartheid flag patches on his jacket. The former South African flag and the flag of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was a racist state. Survivors of last night's massacre say the gunman made it clear he was there to kill black people. You heard that from a friend of somebody who was there earlier on this broadcast. Authorities are trying to determine if he has ties to any established hate groups. Joining me now is Richard Cohen, who is president of the Southern Poverty Law Center who tracks this kind of domestic terrorist groups. Richard, was this alleged gunman, was he on Southern Poverty Law Center's radar before the shooting to place to - known connections that you are aware of, with white supremacy groups or hate groups?
RICHARD COHEN, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: We didn't know him, but we knew many, many young men like him. Disaffected young men, people who were trying to, you know, hook on to a cause larger than themselves to explain their failures. You know, he - other than his age. He fits the profile of the typical lone wolf white supremacist terrorist.
COOPER: You say that most hate crimes in the United States are committed by people who are unaffiliated with known hate groups?
COHEN: That's exactly right. It's always been the case, but these groups often provide the motivation, the ideas that motivate perpetrators like this, and nowadays what we've seen is people drifting away from hate groups and retreating to the anonymity of the net, where they can get the echo chamber that validates their ideas, you know, fuels their anger, and, you know, unfortunately strikes out. You know, last year, Anderson, we did a report where we documented that people who had gone to Storm front which was one of the leading neo-Nazi portals, had killed scores and scores of people in the last five years.
COOPER: You see the patches on his jacket that we showed a second ago. One is an apartheid era flag the other from white ruled Rhodesia. Those flags, I understand have been adopted as sort of emblems by modern day white supremacists. I certainly understand the apartheid flat. I hadn't seen somebody wearing the Rhodesian flag before.
COHEN: No, the Rhodesian flag is definitely unusual. But the apartheid flag is not. If you go to a white supremacist websites, you'll see all kinds of stuff about South Africa, notions of white genocide.
COHEN: And that seems to be some of the things that motivated him. He was talking about, you know, black people taking over our country.
COOPER: That's something you hear, I mean a pretty familiar refrain you hear from bigots, from white supremacists?
COHEN: Absolutely, a very prominent one lives in South Carolina, his name is Bob Whitaker, and, you know, he's inspired billboards throughout the South that say things like diversity equals white genocide. So, it's a very, very common theme in the white supremacist circles nowadays.
COOPER: Richard Cohen, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much, Richard Cohen from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
And up next, as we've mentioned one of the victims of the massacre inside the church behind me, the Emanuel AME Church was the pastor of the church, we talked to his cousin earlier. Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Tonight, he's being remembered as a remarkable human being who died doing the work that he always felt was right for him. As I mentioned, he became a pastor at 18, a state senator at 23. We're going to talk to a U.S. senator who knew him well, he joins us next.
We'll also hear from the son of the oldest victim Suzie Jackson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
: Where you are is a very special place in Charleston. And it's a very special place because this church and this site, this area has been tied to the history and life of African-Americans since about the early 1800s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Reverend Clemente Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME Church who was killed last night along with eight others, talking about the church's incredibly rich history. The past 24 hours have been a nightmare for many here in Charleston, and there will certainly be difficult days ahead, there is no doubt about that. Nine funerals need to be planned. Good-byes no one was certainly prepared for, will have to be said. Suzie Jackson was the oldest person killed in the church attack. She was 87 years old. The longtime member of the Emanuel AME congregation. Ta was the youngest victim. He was 26 years old, just a recent college graduate. Earlier Gary Tuchman who joins me now, talked to Ms. Jackson son, who's also a cousin of Mr. Sanders and Gary joins me. It's unbelievable to think of all of this.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the sadness in his family, they lost the matriarch of their family and they also lost her grandnephew, this vibrant promising young man. And they're seeking solace with each other through their strength of being together.
TUCHMAN: Suzie, the 87-year old lived just a few blocks away from here. We went to her house today, there were about 20 of her relatives. And they were eager for the world to see them actually - because they wanted the world to see how strong they were being together and how much it helped them, but yes, I talked to her son, her son Walter who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Who was shocked beyond belief when he got the news, rushed here to be with rest of his family and talked to us about how this woman provided for him his whole life.
WALTER JACKSON, SON OF SUZIE JACKSON, COUSIN OF TYWANZA SANDERS: Never wanted for anything in my life. You know, we were not rich, but never wanted for anything. We were - come home now sometimes. I come in late, she won't go to sleep, because she didn't - the key in the lock. And I'm an old man.
TUCHMAN (on camera): You are 68, you told.
JACKSON: Yeah, she's still waiting until I get home. You know, that's just the type of person she was.
TUCHMAN: But a wonderful person.
JACKSON: Oh, yeah. Great - lovely grandkids, great grandkids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It often surprises viewers, and I get tweets about this that people want to talk at a time like this, but people want everybody to know the incredible life that in this case - that Suzie lived.
TUCHMAN: That's exactly right. This family was so gracious. And when we told them we're with CNN, and with this program, they said, we just want everyone around the world to know what a great woman Suzie was and also her grandnephew. I mean in that family picture, that we have there, we had a son, we had brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins. And one thing they told us about Suzie, she worked hard her whole life. She was a housekeeper for almost all of her life. But in her retirement, she devoted herself to her family and to her church. And one thing they kept telling us, she was a beautiful woman. They showed us pictures when she was in her 20s, and she was a stunning young woman, she absolutely was. But beautiful inside and out.
COOPER: And we are showing some of these pictures.
TUCHMAN: Yeah, that was her back then. And we certainly learned a lot about this family today. A gracious family, a wonderful family, a family that is deeply suffering right now, but counting on each other.
COOPER: Yeah. Well, we hope in the days ahead, and we'll be here, obviously, tomorrow night as well. We certainly hope to learn more about the victims. I just think it's so important at a time like this to learn all we can. I let people know about the tragedy here by letting them know about the lives that were lost and taken away. Gary, thank you for that reporting.
Reverend Clemente Pinckney, the pastor of the church was also a state senator as we mentioned, he died inside the church that he had poured so much love and so much energy into it over the years, South Carolina's junior senator in Washington Tim Scott knew the pastor. Senator Scott is the first African-American senator elected in the South since reconstruction. He's a native of North Charleston and his office organized a prayer service on Capitol Hill this afternoon. More than 100 members of Congress and staffers attended. Senator Scott rushed back to Charleston this morning, attended a prayer service here. I spoke to him just a short time before he went on air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you have any more information tonight about what motivated this person?
SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: We really do not. The law enforcement officials are really onto - up off of that, in charge with that. They are delving into everything they can think of, every path that his life will be uncovered over time. We look forward to seeing what the response is. So, that we can figure out a way for it. Part of healing and restoration really is understanding as much as you possibly can about the incident and then building and constructing a new future.
COOPER: And, I mean, the history of this church is so incredible and so important to the African-American community, not only here in Charleston, but in the country.
SCOTT: Oldest, oldest church of the AME denomination in the south, south of Baltimore. So, this is no doubt - this is why they called us - manual. It has a significant and historic place in the life of Charleston and of the South. It is devastating to just think about the lives that were lost. Pastor Clemente Pinckney was just a fantastic ...
He was a friend of mine, not a close friend, but a good friend. He was a good man. He was an encourager. I'm Republican, he was a Democrat, but none of that stood in the way. He was always looking for a way to cross the bridge to bring people together. And he wanted us to work on issues that would have impact, jasper and bifurkality together. He was consistently looking for ways to make our community a model for the world to see. He just had an amazing heart and strong vision.
COOPER: Do you see this. I mean there's been a lot of talk - whether this is as an act of domestic terrorism? Do you this as an act of terrorism?
SCOTT: I certainly see the terrorism component, as it relates to just senseless violence taken out on a group of innocent people in the place of worship.
COOPER: And you have no doubt that race was involved? I mean given what ...
SCOTT: Exactly. This is hard to argue with that. It's hard to argue with that. But frankly, the matter is, you - South Carolina, what we want people to remember is the picture of the people that came to the church today, it was a diverse group of South Carolinians who showed up to pay respect and to say we're better together.
COOPER: Senator, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
All right, up next, we're going to take you inside the Bible study just before last night's shooting rampage, you see the alleged gunman at one point. We're going to play the exclusive video for you coming up. And more on the lives of those who were killed here.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are live outside the church where last night's massacre took place. We want to take you inside the church and show you some exclusive video of last night's bible study meeting moments before the shooting. Now, the video was taken by one of the victims who was obtained by our Don Lemon. And keep in mind, the prayer leaders welcome the alleged killer. They welcomed him in for that bible study class. He joined them apparently for about an hour before authorities say he opened fire. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, so, you want to ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I want to talk a little bit more about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just want to talk ... (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Don Lemon got the video. Don joins us now with more, along with our senior legal analyst, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin. Don, this video that you obtained, talk to me about it. Because you - at one point you can actually see the shooter sitting there with them, I understand.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and I don't think that they meant to capture the shooter there. I think that was just sort of random. This is Tywanza Sanders, he died. He was one of the victims. He died in this. And he posted this on his snap chat before the shooting happened. And this is shortly before the shooting happened, so just taking a pan of the room, Anderson, you can see the prayer leaders there, the bible leaders there.
LEMON: And what's interesting is that - and so sad, you mentioned this as well, is that he ingratiated himself within this group and, you know, led them to believe that he was one of them and wanted to come in and learn about God and learn about the bible, when all the time he was planning this in his head, and basically, they were sitting ducks. Learning about God and, you know, the devil, evil was right there among them Anderson.
COOPER: And I mean, that -- not only did he ingratiate himself. They welcomed him in, they opened their arms to this stranger and let him sit with them in this incredible time. Jeff, South Carolina clearly going to pursue charges, the Justice Department has announced a hate crime investigation.
How is that playing out here? Does one investigation - precedence over another?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, South Carolina does. South Carolina has the death penalty. This is a multiple, multiple homicide. South Carolina not only has a death penalty on the books, it is a state unlike say California that actually executes people. It is inconceivable to me that South Carolina would not seek the death penalty. And I think that's how the case will proceed and we'll see what kind of defense it comes up with. Interestingly, it seems to have some echoes of the Boston bombing case, which we just went through. A very young defendant. Obviously guilty. Will there be some sort of defense based on his psychosis, psychology. That's all to be determined.
COOPER: And Don, you've been here throughout much of the day talking to people. I've been amazed, obviously, there's a lot of hurt, there's a lot of - there's anger, but there is this outpouring of support and this sense of people coming together that is extraordinary to witness.
LEMON: Oh, absolutely. You know, the bulk of the people, the majority, 99.9 percent of the people, who, you know, I have had interactions with here, they came over, said I saw you on television, and I wanted to come over and thank you for telling the story. We don't want people to only see the horrific part of something that happened in this city. So, yeah, and Anderson, this is a community of people with a lot of faith and I spoke with someone who is involved in helping to capture, a couple involved in helping to capture this man. And they said that God put them in the right place at the right time. And then you have this guy with the snap chat video even in death shedding some light on what happened. And they think that's divine intervention, it didn't just happen.
TOOBIN: Can I just say something about that video, which I am just sort of so stunned by.
You know, I guess we all have pictures of what it might have looked like, and I think I thought that -- you know, you think about church was - people full of pews.-- it's such a small group of people. It was so intimate.
COOPER: Yeah, it's a very small.
TOOBIN: And he just killed everyone he saw.
COOPER: Absolutely. The intimacy of it.
TOOBIN: It's so sickening.
COOPER: The intimacy and to be with him for an hour, which is sickening. Jeff Toobin, thank you, Don Lemon.
Up next, we remember the victims.
COOPER: Well, the nine victims of the church shooting here in Charleston shared a love of family, a love of faith, six women, three men ranging in age from 26 to 87. They gathered last night here, the Emanuel Emi Church behind me for Bible study when they lost their lives. Tonight, we honor each of them, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. We remember each of the victims and look at how they made an impact in this church and in this community. .
COOPER: Reverend Clemente Pinckney, leader of the Emanuel AME Church was well known in Charleston, not only as a religious leader, but also a state senator. He became a pastor at age 18, and was elected into state office at age 23, making him the youngest African-American state legislator in the history of South Carolina. Friends remember him as a gentle man with a strong voice recognizable to all who knew him. Reverend Pinckney spoke out after the shooting of Walter Scott by a police officer in North Charleston and pushed for legislation requiring police officers to wear body cameras.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. CLEMENTE PINCKNEY: It has really created a real heartache and a yearning for justice. People, not just in the African-American community but for all people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Today his desk at the state senate remains empty, draped in black. Clementa Pinckney was 41 years old. Tywanza Sanders was participating in Bible study on Wednesday night. A recent graduate from Allen University, he was known as a quiet student who was committed to his education and to his church.
Sharonda Singleton was another reverend at the church. She was also a speech therapist and a track and field coach at Goose Creek High School. Her son Chris posted this picture of the two of them on Mother's Day with the caption, "Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful number one fan that has always been there when I needed her."
Cynthia Herd worked in the Charleston County library system. A manager of one of its busiest branches. She dedicated her life to helping people, especially helping them become educated. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, who worked at Southern Wesleyan University. She also served at the church as a minister and leaves behind four daughters.
Suzie Jackson was at Bible study with her cousin Ethel, both of them longtime members of the church. Ethel, a beloved grandmother worked for 30 years there, most recently as the janitor. Ethel was 70 years old, Suzie was 87.
Daniel Simmons was retired pastor who faithfully attended the church every Sunday for service and every Wednesday night for bible study. Myra Thompson was teaching Bible Study at the church when the gunman opened fire. She's described as a person who loved the lord and wanted to serve in everything she did.
COOPER: An 87-year-old woman and eight others murdered in the house of worship. They will be remembered. That does it for this special edition of "360" from Charleston, South Carolina. We'll continue to learn more about those who lost their lives and bring you their stories tomorrow and tomorrow night as well.
COOPER: We think that is the least that we can do as well as continue to follow what happens to the man responsible for all of this.
The CNN original series "The Seventies" starts now.