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Emanuel AME massacre cause for grief, prayer in Philly

Locals were mourning the shooting that took nine lives in South Carolina on Wednesday night.
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    More than 450 people attended the prayer vigil at Mother Bethel AME on Thursday ni|Charles Mostoller

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    Rev. Tyler's wife Leslie Tyler embraces an attendee at the prayer vigil.

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    A police officer stands guard outside Mother Bethel AME, located at 6th and Lombar|Charles Mostoller

Afterthe arrest of Dylann Roof, the man accused ofkilling nine people and injuring three inside a South Carolinachurch on Wednesday night, begins the long and painful healing process.

In Philadelphia, leaders and community members came together to express their sorrow for the lives lost in the massacre at Emanuel AME in Charleston.

"It is unfathomable, at least as reported, thatsomeone would sit in a church servicefor an hourand open fire. It’s madness," said Mayor Nutter.

"Every question we ask and every answer we get is not going to do one thing to bring those people back."

Nutter said he had spoken with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who he described as "heartbroken."

"A lot of people are in shock right now," said Chris Norris, thelocalactivist and writer behind TechBookOnline. "People have beensaying they feel like they woke up in the 1960s."

Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell is a North Charleston native. He spoke about the tragedy at mini-camp Thursday.

" My prayers go out to them, obviously to everyone dealing with it and the families, my prayers go out to them. It's crazy," Maxwell said.

A interfaith prayer vigil was held at Mother Bethel AME church in Philadelphia Thursday evening, attended by 400 people.

Mother Bethel's pastor, Rev. Mark Tyler, knew slain Charleston pastor Clementa Pinckney.

He told Norris in an interview, “I’ve lost a friend and colleague… The relationship was so personal ...Emanuel A.M.E was a mirror image of Mother Bethel in the South.”

Emmanuel AME's link to Philly

Emmanuel AME traces its roots to a religiousgroup of slaves and free blacks organized in 1791. The church waswas founded in 1816, the same year the AME faith was founded in Philadelphia.

In 1822,one church founder, Denmark Vesey, was executed for his role in instigating a slave revolt, and the church was burned down.

Another founder, Morris Brown, went north to Philadelphia, where became the second bishop of the AME faith, sources say.

 

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