At least nine persons were killed today when an unidentified gunman opened fire inside a historic black church in Charleston in the US state of South Carolina USA, whose governor is Indian-American Nikki Haley.

A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, S.C., killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

At a news conference with Charleston’s mayor early Thursday, the police chief, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime.

“It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church while they are having a prayer meeting and take their lives,” he said.

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