Charleston shooting: Two separate prayer vigils targeted by bomb threats

Both threats have now been cleared by police

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The Independent US

Two separate vigils for those killed in the Charleston church shooting have been targeted by bomb threats.

The threats were made against the Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, and another at the West End Community Development Centre in Greenville, a city around 300 miles from Charleston.

Allen Temple AME Church organised the Greenville prayer vigil at the community centre in honour of the nine people killed at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, as part of an effort by AME churches across the state to hold simultaneous vigils.

Around 400 people were inside the Greenville centre when the threat was made to the city's non-emergency phone number, around 45 minutes after the service began. All the attendees were quickly evacuated and the surrounding streets were closed off.

Police Chief Ken Miller said that authorities were speaking to the caller for around an hour, after he told them that there was a bomb hidden in the community centre.

He said that police dogs had been through the building, but had not found anything unusual.

The bomb threat was cleared at around 2:20pm, and the community centre and surrounding streets were reopened.

Further south in Charleston, the Morris Brown Church vigil suffered a similar threat, after an unknown caller phoned the city's police department and told them there was a bomb at the church.

Attending this vigil, which took place only half a mile from the church where the shootings occured, were a number of high-profile guests, such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, state Senator Tim Scott, and the mayors of Charleston and North Charleston.

The bomb threat at this vigil was cleared by police soon after. It is not known whether the two bomb threats are linked.

Both vigils were in the memory of the nine people who were killed at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston yesterday evening, after a gunman opened fire.

Today, police arrested a suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof.