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Mourners pack Charleston arena for pastors funeral
By 11 a.m. Friday, there was not an empty seat in TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina, for a funeral service for the Rev. and South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney. He and eight other members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston were gunned down last week in a racially motivated incident. - photo by Lewis Levine

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Lines of mourners began forming at the crack of dawn at TD Arena at the College of Charleston, not far from the Emanuel AME Church, where the Rev. and South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney and eight others were gunned down last week.

Many came out in their Sunday church clothes to sit and reflect on the life of Pinckney, who represented the area from Charleston to Jasper County, just across the Savannah River from Georgia.

Pinckney was first elected to the South Carolina House in 1996 and to the state Senate in 2000.

By 11 a.m. Friday, there was not an empty seat in the arena, and the mourners clapped and swayed to gospel music.

President Barack Obama is slated to give the eulogy later this afternoon. First lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are expected to attend Pinckney’s funeral service.


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