UPDATE: 5:30 PM EST
The family of accused gunman Dylann Roof released a statement regarding the AME church massacre, sending prayers to the families of the victims and adding that they request privacy in the wake of the tragedy.
— NewsOne (@newsone) June 19, 2015
During a bond hearing for the South Carolina man accused of killing nine people in a storied African-American church, a judge asked the public to consider the suspect’s family when discussing the victims of the massacre.
Judge James Gosnell also referred to Dylann Roof‘s family as “victims” during the hearing, a statement many thought inappropriate given the fatal shooting that took nine of the Emanuel AME church’s members occurred just 48 hours prior.
Chief magistrate james gosnell is an asshole why would he think it ok to admonish grown grieving folk like that @AntheaButler
— celeste green (@celeste821) June 19, 2015
This judge just made a volatile racial situation #DylannStormRoof just that much more explosive and divisive. Wow….
— Lenny McAllister (@Lennymcallister) June 19, 2015
Wow. What an inappropriate statement by the judge to a room full of of victims’ family! OMG. #DylannRoof
— Nic Lott (@niclott) June 19, 2015
During Roof’s hearing, for which he appeared in front of the judge via video, family members of the victims were given a chance to speak to the young man, who said nothing in return.
The overall sentiment from grieving families was one of forgiveness.
“Every fiber in my body hurts, and I’ll never be the same,” the mother of 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders told Roof.
“I forgive you,” the daughter of Ethel Vance said. “You took something very precious from me.”
Mother of TyWanza Sanders. Powerful, gut wrenching. pic.twitter.com/NPT396kqnw
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 19, 2015
Gosnell, who was not authorized to set bail for the 21-year-old’s nine murder charges, set bail at $1 million on a gun charge. Roof is expected back in court this fall.
This is a developing story.