CHARLESTON, S.C. – Police have responded to a shooting at the site of a church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, but there is no word yet on possible casualties.

The address where police say the shooting took place is that of the Emanuel AME Church. Police are saying on Twitter that they’re looking for an approximately 21-year-old white male.

The Post and Courier newspaper is reporting that the pastor of the church was inside for a service at the time of the shooting. But it was unclear if the shooting took place inside the church.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene says police helicopters with searchlights are circling overhead in the area, and several pastors are kneeling and praying across the street.

The Emmanuel AME church is a historic African-American church that traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal church.

One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Parishioners worshipped underground until after the Civil War.


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