World – Obama honours Charleston victims
American President Barack Obama today delivered a eulogy in Charleston for his friend, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was shot dead with eight others last week.
“When Pinckney walked into a room, it was like the future arrived. From a young age, folks knew he was special,” Obama said.
The attack on a bible study group at a historic African-American church is thought to be racially motivated.
Thousands were in attendance at the South Carolina funeral.
The tragedy has reignited debate about race relations and sparked a backlash against the Confederate flag.
Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspected gunman in custody, has been photographed holding the flag.
The president was accompanied in Charleston by first lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill.
Former secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in attendance as well.
“We miss his priceless spirit, but I am convinced it will live on,” one pastor said at the service.
Mother Emanuel AME Church’s ministerial staff gave their condolences to his family during the service, which they called a “joyous celebration of a life well lived”.
The first two funerals, for Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, were held on Thursday.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton were in attendance.