Following a Wednesday night shooting that reportedly left nine dead at a South Carolina church with a black congregation, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said he spoke to the mayor of the city Thursday morning.
"A terrible tragedy. It's just awful. Clearly it seems like a hate crime, racism, what happened here. Allegedly a white gunman went in and shot — I believe nine people have been killed, including a state senator," Walsh told reporters Thursday morning before heading into a WBZ event at the Sheraton in Boston.
Authorities are seeking a young white man as a suspect in the mass murder at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, where the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, was among those killed and was a state senator, according to news reports.
On his way into the same event, Gov. Charlie Baker said he hopes authorities capture the suspect.
"Obviously it's a monumental tragedy for everyone involved and my great hope is that they catch the guy soon," Baker said. "I mean this is clearly somebody who based on all the stuff I saw this morning is an extremely dangerous individual and I think the most important thing that needs to happen now is he needs to be caught before he does something else."
Police Commissioner William Evans and Walsh have been connecting with clergy and will reach out to African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches, Walsh said.
"Anyone who feels concerned, we will take action to protect any churches," he said.