The emotional testimony of a woman who survived the racially motivated Charleston, South Carolina church shooting that claimed the lives of nine Emanuel AME church-goers in June of 2015 left jurors dabbing away tears on Wednesday afternoon.
Felicia Sanders took to the stand to testify about witnessing the horrific moment her fellow church members were gunned down as then-21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof opened fire and unleashed over 60 shots during a routine Wednesday night bible study session.
According to Black America Web, Sanders recalled that the group had just closed their eyes to begin a prayer when a startling loud noise broke the silence. When she opened her eyes, she saw Roof begin his rampage, targeting pastor Clementa C. Pinckney before turning his attention to the others.
One of only three survivors of the hateful attack, Sanders shielded her granddaughter as she watched her son Tywanza and her 87-year-old aunt die during the ambush.
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“I watched my son come into this world and I watched my son leave this world,” she said during her heartbreaking testimony, before becoming so overwhelmed with grief that presiding Judge Richard Gergel called a recess.
Sanders was the first witness to testify during Roof’s death penalty trial. Investigators revealed after the shooting that Roof told the church members he targeted the historic Black church to seek vengeance for Blacks raping White women and taking over the country in hopes of starting a race war.