Charleston congregation members enter church after 9 gunned down

Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, N.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Roof is a suspect in the shooting of several people Wednesday night at the historic The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, N.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Roof is a suspect in the shooting of several people Wednesday night at the historic The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLESTON (AP) –   About six to 10 people trickled into the historic black church that was the scene of a deadly shooting rampage earlier this week.

Presumably congregation members, they came to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Saturday through a parking lot that’s still closed to the public. Some of them then embraced before entering the church through a side door on the street, where cleaning crews had been working earlier in the day.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof also entered the church through a side door on the street level on Wednesday night and stayed at a Bible study for about an hour before opening fire, killing nine people.

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1 p.m.

Mitt Romney says it’s time to take down the Confederate flag that’s flying near the South Carolina Capitol.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee tweets that the flag “is a symbol of racial hatred” to many people. His view: “Remove it now to honor” the nine victims of the church shooting in Charleston.

President Barack Obama has said he thinks the flag belongs in a museum.

South Carolina was the last state to fly the Confederate battle flag from its Capitol dome. In 2000, it was moved to a 30-foot flagpole in front of the Statehouse.

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12:40 p.m.

Photographs that appear to show the Charleston church shooting suspect holding a Confederate flag and burning an American flag appear with a racist rant on a newly uncovered website.

The purported manifesto was found on a website called LastRhodesian.com and surfaced Saturday. It’s unclear if he wrote it but the writings are in line with what Roof has told friends and what he said before allegedly opening fire in the black church Wednesday night.

Internet registry records show that the website was registered on Feb. 9 via a Russian registry service – a common tactic use by those to obscure personal details or hide who is behind any particular website.

The 60 pictures include Roof holding a Confederate flag and a close-up of a .45-calibar pistol. He is accused of using a similar handgun in the church shooting.

The nearly 2,500-word essay starts with Roof saying he was not raised in a racist home, but concluded he needed to become violent after typing “black on White crime” into Google. He says he chose Charleston because at one time it had the highest ratio of blacks to whites and white supremacist groups were not doing enough.

Charleston Police didn’t immediately respond to a message.

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10:15 p.m.

The memorial in front of the black church is growing with bouquets of flowers, balloons and teddy bears.

On Saturday morning, a couple dozen people stood in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where police say a young white man opened fire at the end of a Bible study group and killed nine people on Wednesday night.

Roses are intertwined in the black wrought-iron fence in front of the church and colorful bouquets of flowers are piled on top of each other.

Authorities say 21-year-old Dylann Roof opened fire inside the church. He has been arrested and charged with nine counts of murder. He is currently being held in jail on a $1 million bond.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

6/20/2015 1:27:33 PM (GMT -4:00)

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