Eight of the victims died in the church, one died later at the hospital, Mullen said on Wednesday.
The victims included the church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 41, a Democratic member of the state Senate. Earlier in the day Pickney reportedly campaigned with Hillary Clinton as she continues her presidential campaign tour in Charleston.
Rev. Clements Pinckney, a SC legislator is among the 9 killed in SC church. I am reminded that he helped lead our prayer vigil for Scott.— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) 18 июня 2015
Pinckney first became a South Carolina in 1996, at the age of 23, and was the youngest African American ever elected to the legislature.
The police chief added that the bomb threat issued in downtown Charleston after the Wednesday shooting has been canceled.
Police are still looking for the suspect, a white 21-year-old male. Police believe it was a hate crime.
"We are going to do everything in our power to find this individual, to lock him up, to make sure he does not hurt anyone else," Mullen said.
The shooting occurred at around 9 p.m. US Eastern Time on Wednesday (01:00 GMT on Thursday).
This is Emmanuel AME. One of oldest, most historic churches in the nation. pic.twitter.com/RSVNHImssn— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) 18 июня 2015
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has one of the largest and oldest African American congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland, according to the official website of the church.