Columbia, South Carolina Residents Struggle to Make Sense of Tragedy

South Carolina Residents Struggle to Make Sense of Tragedy

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The Charleston church shooting has shocked and horrified people across the nation. Last Wednesday, on June 17, a Bible study group gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church under the guidance of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney. The reverend and eight others were mercilessly gunned down in an act of violence that has stunned South Carolinians and left the grieving families with nothing more than memories of their loved ones. During such a difficult time, The Jeffcoat Firm would like to offer its sincerest condolences to the surviving victims and family members of this tragedy.

“Heart and soul of S.C. was broken”

The senseless massacre claimed the lives of victims ranging in age from 26 to 87. According to witness statements, the suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, attended the prayer group with the church members for an hour. He then reportedly began ranting about African-Americans, after which he allegedly began shooting.

The dead include the pastor, Pinckney, who served in the South Carolina Senate and had been noted for his advocacy in favor of gun control legislation. Pinckney’s sister was also in the Bible study group and also lost her life. Other victims include Cynthia Hurd, who worked at the public library, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a high school track coach and speech therapist. Early reports suggested that three people had survived the attack.

When speaking at a press conference, South Carolina governor Nikki R. Haley was visibly trying to hold back tears. “We woke up today, and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken. Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe, and that is not something we ever thought we’d deal with,” said Gov. Haley.

The victim’s families must also try to find some way to move forward from the attack. At the 21-year-old suspect’s bond hearing, the surviving family members of the victims addressed Dylann Roof, telling him that they were praying for his soul and that they forgive him for taking their loved ones from them.

Legal help for victims of violence

This senseless act of violence is a reminder that tragedy can strike anywhere at any time, and that we are all vulnerable to assault and other violent attacks. There is simply no “replacement” for a family member lost to violence. However, surviving family members and surviving victims do have legal rights. Personal injury attorney Michael Jeffcoat urges victims of violence in South Carolina and their families to explore avenues of justice by calling our law office at (803) 200-2000. The Jeffcoat Firm is available for a complimentary consultation, during which we will thoroughly explain your legal rights and options, which may include filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Lexington or Richland County, South Carolina.

Michael Jeffcoat


“When I went to law school, I didn’t know at first that I wanted to be a lawyer for injured people, but the more I saw and learned in the early years of practicing law about what big corporations and insurance companies do and how they behave, the more it became clear to me that I needed to be a plaintiff’s lawyer,” he recalls.

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