It’s been nearly a year since a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston shocked the nation.

“We woke up today and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken,” said Gov. Nikki Haley the morning after a gunman killed nine worshippers in what authorities describe as a race-based attack.

At the time, officials struggled to make sense of the crime that unfolded on Wed., June 17 during an intimate evening Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.

“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience,” said Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen at the first news conference late that night.

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

While Grieving Continues, Church Shooting Was Charleston’s Call To Action

Photo: Debbie Elliott/NPR