Hundreds of mourners are filing past the casket of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, the second Charleston church shooting victim to be laid to rest.
Those attending at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church were screened by officers who searched each bag at the door. Police officers were posted on the road and at various entry points around the large church complex along one of the major thoroughfares in North Charleston.
Coleman-Singleton, 45, was a track coach at Goose Creek High School and a minister at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. She and eight others were shot to death June 17 while attending a Bible study at the church.
College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell, a former South Carolina senator and Civil War buff, says he supports removing the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds.
But he doesn't want people to go after Confederate monuments, cemeteries, historic street and building names.
McConnell, as the state Senate's former leader, was instrumental in forging the 2000 compromise that took the flag off the Statehouse dome and put a square version at the Confederate Soldiers Monument out front.
McConnell hoped to avoid commenting until after the funerals of his former colleague, Sen. Clementa Pinckney, and the "eight other Christian martyrs killed by a hateful terrorist," but decided to break his silence following numerous requests.
"The time has come to revisit the issue of the Confederate soldier's flag, which a number of our citizens regard as offensive," said McConnell, a senator for more than three decades and a long-time Civil War re-enactor.
Soloists and a full choir are singing and Scripture passages are being read at the first funeral held for a victim of the massacre at a historic black church in South Carolina.
Ethel Lance's funeral began Thursday at a North Charleston church. Her body, dressed in white, lies in a casket with a spray of white roses on the casket, flanked by other floral displays.
Members of "Mother Emanuel," the Charleston church where Lance and the eight others were killed, were asked to stand.
They said: "Sister Lance, we are here! Mother Emanuel, we are here!"
That church's choir sang the opening hymn, "When I've Gone the Last Mile"
Among those are the funeral are Gov. Nikki Haley, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley., US Rep. Mark Sanford, Greenville native the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Later Thursday, services for Sharonda Coleman-Singleton were scheduled, also in North Charleston. Funerals for the other seven victims of last week's shooting are set for other days over the next week.
The casket has been brought in and placed in front of the pulpit as people trickle in for the first funeral held for a victim of the massacre at a historic black church in South Carolina.
The casket is open Thursday ahead of Ethel Lance's funeral at a church in North Charleston.
A woman could be heard softly sobbing as family and friends passed the casket, then took their seats.
Another woman on her way to a balcony seat commented: "Ms. Ethel looks so pretty."
The Rev. Norvel Goff, interim leader of Emanuel, is expected to deliver the eulogy.
Outside, law enforcement officers checked each person's bag as a line of people formed.
The funeral is to begin at 11 a.m. Later Thursday, services for Sharonda Coleman-Singleton were scheduled, also in North Charleston. Funerals for the other seven victims of last week's shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston were set for other days over the next week.
A monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia, has been vandalized.
A spray-painted message of "Black Lives Matter" was visible on the statue Thursday and is one of several monuments across the country that have been vandalized since nine black church members were slain in Charleston.
A small crowd gathered to look at the vandalism. Mitch Brown said he supports limiting the use of Confederate flags in public spaces but not the destruction of property.
Davis is buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, which is home to 22 former Confederate generals and thousands of Confederate soldiers.
Five uniformed law enforcement officers, several wearing vests, stood in front of the church where the first funeral for a victim of the massacre at a historic black church in South Carolina is to be held soon.
About an hour and a half before the service for Ethel Lance was scheduled to begin Thursday in North Charleston, two other officers with a police canine exited the church.
Then, a florist truck delivered flowers.
Lance's funeral was to start at 11 a.m.
Later Thursday, services for Sharonda Coleman-Singleton were scheduled. Funerals for the other seven victims of last week's shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were set for other days over the next week.
The chief magistrate who solicited sympathy for relatives of a man accused of fatally shooting nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church has been replaced.
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a replacement for Charleston County Chief Magistrate James Gosnell
The order doesn't say why Chief Justice Jean Toal replaced Gosnell, who remains a magistrate judge. His term as chief was to expire at the end of June.
Gosnell's attorney didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. Local media outlets report that Lionel Lofton said his client told Toal on Tuesday he didn't want to be reconsidered for the chief position.
During a bond hearing for suspect Dylann Roof, Gosnell expressed sympathy for Roof's family, as well as the victims' families.
Gosnell said: "There are victims on this young man's side of the family. We must find it in our heart, at some point in time, to not only help those who are victims but to also help his family as well."