The mother of Charleston Southern baseball player Chris Singleton was one of nine people killed when a man entered a Charleston, S.C., church and opened fire on parishioners during a Bible study session on Wednesday night.
Charleston Southern University confirmed that Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was one of the victims in the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
The gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was taken into custody the following morning in North Carolina and transported back to South Carolina to face nine counts of murder and a weapons possession charge.
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said Friday on NBC's Today that Roof should face the death penalty, and the U.S. Department of Justice said it would investigate the attack as a hate crime. Roof is white, while all the victims are black, and Roof allegedly proclaimed his hatred for black people before opening fire.
“We are especially mourning the loss of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, the mother of rising sophomore Chris Singleton," Charleston Southern president Jairy C. Hunter Jr. said. "Chris is a member of our baseball team. The CSU family is praying for Chris and his family during this painful time. CSU coaches and campus ministers are assisting the Singleton family as they deal with this tragedy.”
Singleton, 45, was reportedly a speech therapist and girls’ track and field coach at nearby Goose Creek High School.
“My Mom was a God-fearing woman, and she loved everybody with all her heart, and to the other families, I’m sorry about what happened,” Chris Singleton said, according to ABC News. “Obviously you guys are as devastated as we are, but I know for a fact that things will get better as time goes on.”
The school said it is planning an on-campus prayer vigil on Monday.
“Chris’s mother was just that parent that as a coach you are proud to have as part of your program," Charleston Southern baseball head coach Stuart Lake said. "What she brought to our team is immeasurable."
- Scooby Axson