The Victims of the Charleston, SC, Church Massacre

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
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Sharonda Coleman-Singleton; Cynthia Hurd; Tywanza Sanders
Facebook; Charleston County Public Library; Facebook

One woman coached the girls track team at a local high school.

Another young man had just graduated from college last year and was thinking about pursuing a career in broadcast journalism.

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Another man was the consummate community leader, having met both President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—politicos who knew that you needed to see state Sen. the Rev. Clementa Pinckney when you were paying your respects or corralling support in South Carolina. 

Another woman’s death prompted 16 library branches to close Thursday to honor her, demonstrating her significance to Charleston, S.C.’s county public libraries as one of its regional managers.

These are the nine people who lost their lives when a gunman opened fire inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday evening in Charleston, S.C., as confirmed by Rae Wooten, the Charleston County coroner:

Depayne Middleton Doctor

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Depayne Middletown Doctor was a 49-year-old retiree. She was a mother of four daughters and retired as the director of the Community Development Block Grant Program in Charleston County. 

Cynthia Hurd

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Cynthia Hurd’s death was confirmed by her employer of 31 years, the Charleston County Public Library. The library system closed all 16 of its branches Thursday and put out a statement expressing its condolences for Hurd and her family. Hurd was the regional library manager at St. Andrews Regional Library. 

“Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth,” the statement read.

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“Her loss is incomprehensible and we ask for prayers for her family, her co-workers, her church and this entire community as we come together to face this tragic loss,” it continued.

According to WSOC TV, Malcolm Graham, Hurd’s brother, also put out a statement confirming his sister’s death. Graham described his sister as a woman of faith.

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Susie Jackson

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Susie Jackson had reportedly just visited family members two weeks ago. She was an 87-year-old longtime member of the Emanuel AME Church. Jackson’s cousin Ethel Lance was also killed during the shooting.

Ethel Lance

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Ethel Lance, 70, retired as a Gilliard Center employee but picked up hours working as a church janitor.

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney

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The Rev. Clementa Pinckney was the consummate community leader, serving as the pastor of the Emanuel AME Church and also as a state senator. President Obama said Thursday that both he and his wife, Michelle, knew Pinckney. Former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly made sure to meet with the reverend during her stop in South Carolina to drum up support for her campaign. 

Bakari Sellers, a trial attorney and friend of Pinckney, described the state senator and pulpit leader as an “all-around good guy.”

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According to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Vice President Joe Biden also described the last time he saw Pinckney, further demonstrating Pinckney’s reach and significance in the South Carolina community.

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Tywanza Sanders

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Tywanza Sanders—a 26-year-old recent graduate of Allen University in Columbia, S.C.—had reportedly jumped in front of a relative when the shooting began in order to shield his loved one from harm, according to an account told to BuzzFeed News by ABC News 4 reporter Tessa Spencer. Spencer knew Sanders because Sanders worked at a barbershop with Spencer’s brother.

“They said he jumped in front of his aunt or grandmother,” Spencer said. She said that Sanders’ family member also died in the shooting.

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Spencer described how Sanders had graduated from Allen’s Division of Business Administration last year. She recalled the last time she saw Sanders. “I saw him two days ago and said, ‘See you later,’ and Sanders said, ‘Bye, Miss Tessa,’” Spencer said.

She remembered Sanders as being outgoing and yet equally shy, and said he had an interest in broadcast news.

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The Rev. Dr. Daniel Simmons Sr.

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Like the Rev. Pinckney, the Rev. Dr. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, was also a pastor at the Emanuel AME Church. Simmons was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity—one of the historically black Greek fraternities. Simmons attended Allen University and graduated in 1966. Simmons is the only victim who did not die immediately at the church. He was taken to a local hospital and died in the operating room.

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Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

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Sharonda Coleman-Singleton coached the girls track team at Goose Greek High School. It was her son, Chris Singleton, who posted a message on Twitter Wednesday night, asking for people to pray for his mother and their family, tweeting that “something extremely terrible” had happened to his mom.

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Singleton was a mother of three and a reverend. Students from Goose Greek High School posted a message on Facebook expressing their love for the coach: “We love you, Coach Singleton,” the message read. “Gator Nation is where it is today because of your leadership. You have our thoughts and prayers.”

Myra Thompson

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Myra Thompson, 59, was one of three pastors killed at the Emanuel AME Church.  

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beatsa Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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