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Charleston church massacre: Shooting suspect in custody, prayers held for victims

Before he started firing on members of a Bible study group at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof spent some time with them and it is likely that Roof might have prayed with them.

A Snapchat video released on Thursday showed that Roof sat at a table with the small group. Nothing in the footage suggests the carnage to come.

Roof allegedly shot and killed nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the heart of Charleston's tourist district. The hate crime has left the authorities in a state of shock as it occurred in a house of worship.

"People in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person to come in and shoot them is inexplicable," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

Rev Clementa Pinckney said that six women and three men were killed, including the church's politically active pastor.

NAACP president has expressed his outrage at the violence. "There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture," Cornell William Brooks said.

Meanwhile, police arrested 21-year-old Roof on Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina, without resistance. After a court appearance, Roof waived his right to extradition and was flown back to South Carolina.

On Thursday, prayers were held across the United States in the memory of the victims.