SAN ANTONIO – As they shuffled dominoes and dealt cards at a local community center, Clonie Glasco and other seniors already were well aware of the Wednesday evening Bible study that ended in bloodshed, killing the pastor of a historic black church in South Carolina and eight of members of his congregation.
"I've been just sickened," said Glasco, a member of St. James AME Temple, San Antonio's oldest African Methodist Episcopal church, established in 1878.
After learning Dylann Roof, 21, had been captured in neighboring North Carolina, Glasco said, "The child is sick. He's sick. He's sick. Hate is a sickness."
Roof is accused in the worst attack on a black church since the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church that killed four little girls.
Evelyn King, who lived through the civil rights era, said it seems acts of violence are worse than they were in the past.
"Looks like people just coming out of the woodwork hating people, wanting to do things to people," King said.
Alma Thomas said, "They haven't gotten too much better than what it used to be."
"God put us here for a reason," said James Hayes. "He didn't put us here to kill nobody, so it doesn't make sense."
Although local AME pastors were directed not to comment, a statement was issued by the AME Council of Bishops.
Bishop Julius H. McAllister, its president, and Bishop John R. Bryant, the senior AME bishop, said the senseless violence was met with "profound dismay and grief."
"We are earnestly praying with and for members of this historic congregation and the Charleston community at large," they said, offering prayers, love and support to Bishop Richard F. Norris and the Seventh Episcopal District. "We are praying that peace and justice prevail."