Sen. Tim Scott mourned and denounced Wednesday’s shooting in a historic Charleston, S.C., African-American church that left nine people dead.
"My heart is breaking for Charleston and South Carolina tonight," Scott, R-S.C., said in a statement. "This senseless tragedy at a place of worship – where we come together to laugh, love and rejoice in God’s name – is absolutely despicable and can never be understood."
Scott, born and raised in North Charleston, added that he stands with the congregation of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest African-American churches in the country, where the shooting occurred.
"We will come together as a city and as a state to lift up those who need us right now," Scott said.
He organized a prayer circle outside the Capitol, attended by lawmakers and staff who clasped hands as they listened to prayers and calls for unity, some with tears in their eyes.
“We need healing in this great land,” said Senate Chaplain Barry Black. “I think our coming together in this united and passionate way today can be the beginning.”