Country stars are joining the entire nation in mourning the senseless tragedy that took place in a church in Charleston, S.C., when a gunman opened fire during a Bible study Wednesday night (June 17), killing nine people.

According to CNN, the murders took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the south. Police have arrested 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof of Lexington, S.C. in connection with the crime, which was racially motivated. Roof was taken into custody in Shelby, N.C. on Thursday morning (June 18) after police received a tip about a sighting.

Investigators say Roof attended the Bible study and stayed for nearly an hour before beginning his killing spree, using a pistol that he may have received as a 21st birthday gift and reloading five times, killing six women and three men. Roof reportedly said he was there specifically "to shoot black people." The New York Times reports that when one victim begged him to stop, he replied, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you are taking over our country. And you have to go."

President Obama addressed the nation Thursday morning in the wake of the killings. "Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy," he said. "There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace ... to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn't say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel."

Darius Rucker lives in Charleston, and he was among the country stars who reacted with sorrow and disbelief.


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