On Wednesday night, nine people died after a man opened fire during a Bible study class at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged gunman, now identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, has been taken into custody.
But what’s just as hard to hear: This devastating incident is the sixth shooting at a United States church in nearly a decade. Add synagogues, temples and mosques to the tally, and it’s almost too many to count.
As the country mourns those who died in Charleston, we reflect on the other devastating incidents that took innocent lives.
First Congregational Church in Neosho, Missouri
Aug. 12, 2007
Gunman Eiken Elam Saimon killed three, including an assistant pastor, and wounded five at the Missouri church. In the pews that morning were a number of Saimon’s relatives – some of whom were among the victims. After pleading not guilty to three charges of murder, he was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee
July 27, 2007
During a morning performance of a children’s play, Jim D. Adkisson opened fire. Despite their place on the stage, no children were killed or injured. Two adults, however, died, and seven others were wounded.
New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec. 9, 2008
Gunman Matthew Murray set off two smoke bombs at the church’s front entrances, and arrived equipped with clips for 1,000 rounds of ammunition, plus two handguns and an assault rifle. He killed two teen sisters and wounded three more individuals.
First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois
March 9, 2009
During Sunday services at this downstate church, Terry J. Sedlacek opened fire, killing Rev. Fred Winters in the middle of his sermon. Two others were injured after Sedlacek stabbed them when they tried to diffuse the situation. After four shots, Sedlacek’s gun jammed – but he had 30 rounds of ammunition total on him.
Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox Synagogue in North Hollywood, California
Oct. 29, 2009
In the parking garage of the synagogue, a gunman shot two men in their legs (they survived). Six months later, a suspect was arrested.
New Gethsemane Church of God in Richmond, California
Feb. 14, 2010
Here, two gunmen fired five shots into a crowd more than 100 people during a Sunday service, wounding two teens. A year later, a man named Marcel Buggs was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the crime.
Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Aug. 5, 2012
Just 16 days after the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, another devastating incident occurred at a Milwaukee-area Sikh temple, resulting in six fatalities and three injuries at the hands of Wade Michael Page, an army veteran. Responding to the attack, police shot Page to death.
Muslim Education Center Mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois
Aug. 10, 2012
Suspect David Conrad fired multiple shots at the exterior wall of a suburban Chicago mosque, where inside, 500 worshippers were observing Ramadan. Conrad was arrested two days later.
Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas
April 14, 2014
Frazier Glenn Miller (also known as Glenn Miller or Glenn Cross), a former Ku Klux Klan leader, shot and killed three people outside a Jewish Community Center near Kansas City. Charged with counts of capital murder and first-degree murder, Miller could face the death penalty if found guilty when he stands trial.
West End Synagogue in Nashville, Tennessee
April 13, 2015
Earlier this year, shots were fired at Nashville’s largest conservative synagogue. Ironically, the attack came just before a memorial walk for victims of the Overland Park shooting the year prior. Thankfully, no one was injured and there were no fatalities.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina
June 17, 2015
In the latest instance of gun violence at a church, nine were killed when a man opened fire during a bible study at the historic house of worship. The prime suspect, Dylann Roof, has been taken into custody.
Individuals who want to donate in memory of the victims of the Charleston church massacre are asked to text “prayforcharleston” to 843-606-5995 or donate online at the Palmetto Project.
• Reporting by Christina Butan