Service set for last victim of South Carolina church shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 30, 2015 11:47 AM

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - The memorial service for the last of the nine victims of the Emanuel AME Church shootings in South Carolina will be held on Tuesday afternoon in Charleston for Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, 74, a minister of the church.

The "Emanuel 9" funerals began last Thursday for church sexton Ethel Lance, 70, and high school speech pathologist and track coach Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, less than a week after the June 17 massacre during Bible study.

The apparent racist motives of the white man charged in the killing, as well as the moving words of forgiveness by the relatives of victims at his first court appearance, have sparked an intense dialogue across the U.S. South over the legacy of slavery and its symbols, centering on the Civil War-era battle flag of the Confederacy.

Photos surfaced of Dylann Roof, 21, a white man charged in the shooting. In the pictures, he posed with the Confederate flag on a website that also displayed a racist manifesto.

President Obama delivered a powerful eulogy at Friday's funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, pastor of "Mother Emanuel" and a revered state senator. The arena was packed with 5,400 people as thousands more watched from satellite locations in the city, lined streets outside, or watched live broadcasts on TV.

Three more funerals on Saturday honored public library manager Cynthia Hurd, 54; and Tywanza Sanders, 26 and the youngest victim, and his aunt Susie Jackson, 87.

Sanders was hailed as a hero for trying to protect his mother Felicia Sanders, from the gunman.

Felicia Sanders, who survived the massacre, will be a material witness in state and federal cases against Roof, and she met with prosecutors this week, Charleston attorney Andy Savage said in a statement.

Hundreds stood in line in the sun on Sunday and Monday at Emanuel for the funerals of Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, who was killed while teaching Emanuel's bible study class, and Myra Thompson, 59.

Simmons was a fourth-generation preacher who served at eight South Carolina AME churches before he retired in 2013, according to his online obituary. He also was retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked in vocational rehabilitation.

An Army veteran, he will be buried on Thursday at Fort Jackson National Cemetery near Columbia.

(Editing by David Adams; Editing by David Gregorio)