(San Francisco, CA, June 18, 2015)—Last night in Charleston, South Carolina, a white gunman opened fire on a prayer group at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church during Bible study. Nine people were murdered, including state senator and pastor of the church Rev. Clementa Pinckney and his sister. The alleged gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was captured early this morning. The murders are being investigated as hate crimes.

Statement from National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“There are moments when a headline is too much to comprehend. This is such a moment. The nightmare shooting and murder in Charleston of nine black African American parishioners in a hate fueled racially motivated attack leaves us bereft and sick. There are really no words. We grieve for the families and for our country. We know our nation cannot go on like this and yet, here we are. Will enough ever be enough? Until we are willing to address race and entrenched racism in this country, the headlines will continue.”