Charleston shooting
Police respond to a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015. A gunman opened fire on Wednesday evening at the historic African-American church in downtown Charleston.Reuters

Nine people were killed as a gunman opened fire at an African-American church in Charleston in South Carolina, United States, late on Wednesday.

The shooting was reported at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic African-American church that dates back to 1816. SEE PHOTOS

The suspect is a 21-year-old white male, and the police have called the shooting a 'hate crime'. 

"I do believe this was a hate crime," Police Chief Gregory Mullen reportedly said

The suspect is still at large and has been described as "armed and dangerous".

He reportedly was present for an hour during a Bible meeting at the historic church, before he got up and opened fire at the worshippers at about 9 pm local time on Wednesday. 

Church pastor Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic South Carolina senator, was also killed in the shooting. 

"I will say that this is an unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy in this most historic church, an evil and hateful person took the lives of citizens who had come to worship and pray together," Mayor Joe Riley was quoted as saying by The Post and Courier.

Details of the Charleston shooting so far - 

  • Among the dead were six women and three men. There were three survivors. 
  • A photo of the suspect in the Charleston church shooting has been released.
  • The suspect is still at large, and the police are using helicopters in the manhunt. The suspect is believed to be a 21-year-old white male.
  • Church pastor Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic South Carolina senator, has reportedly been killed. 
  • Charleston police chief Greg Mullen has reportedly said that he believes the shooting was a hate crime, The Guardian reported. He also said that the bomb threat is over. 
  • Hillary Clinton, who was in Charleston on Wednesday and had even reportedly met the pastor of the church, tweeted that the news of the shooting was 'heartbreaking'.
  • Nine people have been killed, Charleston police have confirmed, according to reports. 
  • The suspect in the shooting is a 21-year-old white male.
  • Nine people are believed to be killed, according to tweets by journalists.
  • Authorities have also reported a bomb threat at the scene, USA Today reported.
  • Jeb Bush, who recently announced his presidential campaign, has reportedly called off his South Carolina event scheduled for Thursday in wake of the crime.