CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in Charleston, South Carolina are still searching for a man who walked into a historic black church and opened fire, killing nine people.

The gunman is described as a white man in his 20s, and authorities are calling last night's shooting a hate crime.

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley says the shooting at Emanuel AME Church is "the most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy."

He says, "The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate."

Last night's fatal shooting at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina happened during a prayer meeting at the historic black church.

One of those killed was the pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

The 41-year-old Pinckney was a married father of two who was elected to the state house at age 23.

State House Minority leader Todd Rutherford says Pinckney, "never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should."