Obama to give eulogy for slain Charleston pastor


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will attend the funeral of the slain Charleston pastor Clementa Pinckney. Obama will give the eulogy. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Barack Obama on Friday will deliver the eulogy for pastor and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine victims of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week. Vice President Joe Biden will also attend the service.

The White House confirmed that the two would travel to Charleston on Friday for the funeral. The news was first reported by the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper.

The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, 21, has been charged with nine counts of murder.

In his first public remarks on the shooting, Obama noted that he and first lady Michelle Obama “know several members of Emanuel AME Church.”

“We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night. And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel,” he said.

“Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy,” the president continued. “There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.”

Biden and Dr. Jill Biden said in a joint statement last week that they had last been with Pinckney at a prayer breakfast in Columbia, S.C.

“He was a good man, a man of faith, a man of service, who carried forward Mother Emanuel’s legacy as a sacred place promoting freedom, equality and justice for all,” the Bidens said. “We pray for him and his sister, as we do for the seven other innocent souls who entered that storied church for their weekly Bible study, seeking nothing more than humble guidance for the full lives ahead of them.”