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'I am destroyed.' Emanuel AME families speak out on Texas church shooting

chris singleton (copy)

Chris Singleton will head up the Charleston RiverDogs youth baseball camps this summer. File/Staff

Family members of victims in the Emanuel AME shooting in Charleston are speaking out about Sunday's church shooting in Texas that left at least 26 people dead and 20 injured. 

"Hard to breathe thinking that 20 more people were killed in a place of worship," Chris Singleton, the son of Emanuel AME victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, posted on Twitter after the massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

"Gun violence is REAL & needs to be STOPPED!!!" Singleton wrote.

Singleton, a former student and baseball player at Charleston Southern University, played last summer in the minor league system of the Chicago Cubs.

"The Lord blessed us with free will and at times like these I am destroyed by the things people do with it," Singleton wrote in a follow-up post. "#TexasShooting".

Malcolm Graham's sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, was also among the nine slain at Emanuel AME in June of 2015. He also took to Twitter to express his thoughts.

"My heart is broken again, praying for Sutherland Springs, Texas," he wrote.

The Rev. Sharon Risher lost her mother, Ethel Lance, in the Emanuel AME Church shooting. Two years before that, her middle sister, Terrie Washington, died of cancer.

Then the family was hit by even more tragedy. Another of her three sisters, Esther Lance, died on Saturday of what appears to be natural causes in her North Charleston home. She had just turned 54 years old, Risher said.

Then came the Texas church shooting on Sunday. When Risher heard the news, she could barely function through the enormity of sorrow.

"I can't even deal," Risher said. "My heart hurts."

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter that she is "praying for the families of Sutherland Springs."

"A church is the most sacred of places," Haley posted. "No words."

Jennifer Berry Hawes contributed to this story. 

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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