Jeffrey Collins / AP

Police identify victims in South Carolina church shooting

The victims, ages 26 to 87, included a state senator, a recent graduate and a track team coach

A state senator, a librarian, a recent college graduate and a track team coach were among those gunned down in what authorities are calling a hate crime at a historical black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Police on Thursday identified the victims of the shooting that killed nine in a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church the night before, and community member condolences for the deceased circulated widely around social and news media.

Clementa Pinckney, 41, was the pastor at the church where the shooting occurred, one of the oldest African-American houses of worship in the country. Pinckney had lived a life of firsts: He was ordained as a church elder at the age of 18. In 1997, he became South Carolina’s youngest member of the state house at the time, and in 2001, he became the youngest state senator.

He was active in Hillary Clinton’s bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket, and spent much of his last day campaigning with Clinton in Charleston.

Pinckney had delivered a stirring sermon at a YWCA event in late April, entitled "Requiem on Racism," in which he said that love alone could end racism. "Irregardless of our faiths, our ethnicities, where we are from, together we come in love," he said. "Together we come to bury racism, to bury bigotry, and to resurrect and revive love, compassion and tenderness."

Another of the deceased was named as Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, who coached the girl’s track team at Goose Creek High School, just north of Charleston. The school plans to hold a vigil for her at 7 p.m. local time.

Singleton was also a “teacher, pastor and mother,” according to a retweet by Chris Singleton, identified by national media as Coleman-Singleton’s son. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify Singleton’s account.

A recent college graduate was also killed. Allen University mourned Tywanza Sanders, 26, who the university called “the youngest victim.” He graduated with a degree in business administration last year.

“He was a quiet, well known student who was committed to his education,” said a press release that university vice president Flavia Eldemire sent to Al Jazeera.

State Sen. Pinckney had also attended Allen University. “Our hearts and prayers are with the families of these two victims of this senseless act of violence,” the university’s interim president, Lady June Cole, was quoted as saying in the release.

The Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) was also in mourning Thursday, closing all 16 branches to mourn the loss of Cynthia Hurd, 54, a regional library manager in St. Andrews. Hurd had worked with the CCPL for 31 years.

“Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth,” the CCPL said in a release on its website. “Her loss is incomprehensible, and we ask for prayers for her family, her co-workers, her church and this entire community as we come together to face this tragic loss.”

Two other pastors were killed in the shooting: Myra Thompson, 59, and Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74. The Anglican Church of North America said on its Twitter account that Thompson was married to Rev. Anthony Thompson.

The third pastor, Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74, died on a hospital operating table after the shooting. He was a pastor at another Charleston church, according to ABC News.

Ethel Lance, 70, was a retired Gilliard Center Employee who worked for 30 years at the church, the Post and Courier newspaper said. Joe Quil Lance, her grandson, said that she was "the heart of the family."

Eighty-seven-year-old Susie Jackson was Lance's cousin and a longtime church member, the Post and Courier reported.

DePayne Doctor, 46, retired in 2005 as Charleston County director of the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Post and Courier said.

The Charleston Police Department did not respond to requests for further comment at time of publication.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Azure Gilman contributed reporting.

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