DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The mother of a Dallas woman is among those killed at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Police say Dylann Storm Roof shot and killed nine people, before being captured after an all-night manhunt.
A leader at the Tenth Episcopal District AME Church in Dallas confirmed that Ethel Lee Lance, the mother of one of their members, had been shot dead. Lance, a 70-year-old mother and grandmother, is said to have worked at the South Carolina church for 30 years.
Those who are tied to the 200-year history of the AME church are praying for their fellow members, including the Dallas-area family.
Dallas Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie led a standing-room only prayer service Thursday afternoon. She told those in attendance the shooting in South Carolina was not only a senseless act, but a very personal one for North Texas.
“One of our members, one of our preachers, our chaplains… her mother died last night,” McKenzie announced. “This tragedy touches everyone, regardless of where they are.”
Throughout Texas there is more than a century of history among AME churches. Thursday Bishop McKenzie said you can also still find the racism that created the South Carolina killings. “In a just society I would never expect this to happen, but in this society tragedy like these things have become too common place.”
The Bishop did not give the name of the parishioner and said that the family has asked for privacy.
Thursday morning officials in Charleston detailed how Roof, 21, spent nearly an hour inside The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church before killing six women and three men. Before opening fire Roof allegedly made some derogatory remarks to the congregants and told them he was there to “shoot black people.” Roof was arrested four hours away from the church, in Shelby, North Carolina.
During an afternoon press conference, Richie Butler, pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas, spoke about the shooting in Charleston. “We recognize that it could have been, it could have happened Dallas and it could have happened here at St. Paul.”
Pastor Butler also talked about some of the problems that may have plagued accused murderer Dylann Roof. “From what I understand he [Roof] has issues with what’s going on in our nation and it grieves us and brings pain to the fact that… we have so far to go in the area of race.”
Before it was known that there was a Texas connection to the deadly church shooting in South Carolina, North Texas religious leaders announced that they would hold a prayer service. The service will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 2420 Metropolitan Avenue in Dallas.
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