A five-year-old child has survived a fatal mass shooting in a South Carolina church by playing dead.
Several people were (reports currently say nine) killed in the massacre that took place in a historic African-American church.
The shooter is currently still at large and on the run from the police. Police are describing it as a “hate crime”.
According to family members, the child was was inside the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church when the gunman – who is described by police as clean-shaven white man in his 20s – opened fire.
He is believed to have entered the church at 9pm local time on Wednesday night and joined everyone in prayer, before standing up and shooting. The resulting aftermath has been described as “beyond description” by reporters.
Speaking about the horrific situation, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley said:
This is the most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy.
People in prayer, coming together, praying and worshipping God, to have an awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable, obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible.