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Gov. Nikki Haley Recalls SC Church Massacre in State of State Address

Image: Gov. Nikki Haley Recalls SC Church Massacre in State of State Address
Gov. Nikki Haley (Sean Rayford/AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 11:51 AM

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley choked back tears Wednesday as she recalled last year's Charleston church massacre in which nine people were shot dead.

In her annual State of the State address, the rising Republican star — who recently gave the GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech — spoke of the June bloodbath launched by White supremacist Dylann Roof at the predominantly African American Emanuel AME Church.

One of the victims was state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who also served as the church's pastor.

"I knew him to be a man who never seemed to speak against anyone or anything but, instead, to advocate for the people and the ideas that he believed in," Haley said, according to The State newspaper.

"We should all spend a little more time getting to know the people behind the policies."

Haley, speaking in the House Chamber of State Capitol building in Columbia, then read the names of the nine victims and acknowledged three survivors, two of whom were in the audience along with the family of Pinckney.

"For reasons only God knows, we lost nine amazing souls that night. So too, for reasons only He knows, God decided He wasn't ready to take three more, that He still had work for them to do,"she said her voice shaking.

Haley then paused for a sip of water before continuing.

"These two women, and the precious little one who was with them that night, are proof that we have angels living here on Earth,"she said of the survivors as she fought back tears in the House chamber.

South Carolina is planning to seek the death penalty against Roof, who will be tried this year on nine counts of murder and hate crimes.

Chilling photos of Roof with the Confederate flag were instrumental in the Palmetto State banning the controversial symbol of the Civil War and slavery from the State Capitol building where it had flown for years.

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley choked back tears Wednesday as she recalled last year's Charleston church massacre in which nine people were shot dead.
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2016-51-21
Thursday, 21 Jan 2016 11:51 AM
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