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Recalling a horrific tragedy
Lewis Levine 1
Six years ago, on June 17, I received an early morning call from NBC News in New York. “We need you to go to Charleston,” they told me. “There’s been a mass shooting.”
I had no idea at the moment the extent of what had taken place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.  As I was driving there, I got myself up to speed as to what took place and was horrified that such a despicable act could take place in our country.  Nine innocent African American, simply holding bible study in the basement of a church, were gunned down by a person I consider as being less than a human being.  A wild animal wouldn’t have done something as heinous as the crime this low life committed.
I refuse to recognize him by name because he is not worthy of being known as a person.
I spent the morning rushing from location to location and I covered the Governor’s press conference. It was on this very day that I met Emmy Award winning NBC News Correspondent Mark Potter. I had to pick up him up at the airport in my beat up 2000 Toyota Tacoma. We were sent to the home of the lowlife who brought this disaster down with the flick of a finger. We were supposed to try and interview his family.  When we got there, Mark told me to keep the camera rolling as he knocked on the door, which I did.  I was praying we wouldn’t get shot, but we had a job to do, so I did as I was told.
Mark knocked on the door and a man answered and simply said, “We’re not talking to the press and get off my property before I call the police.”
With that Mark backed off and we walked away.

Our next assignment was to go where the subhuman lived with his mom.  No one was home so we focused on a general store/restaurant across from where he lived.  I interviewed a woman who told me she could tell he was a troubled person, in hindsight that seems like the understatement of the year.

Covering a story of this magnitude didn’t give me the time to focus on what took place that day. It was days later when I covered the memorial attended by former President Obama that it hit me.  It was then that I was able to grieve for these nine fine folks who were just doing what they enjoyed to do and did so often - study the Bible and worship God. And I know in my heart God is still cradling them today.

Lewis M. Levine

Coastal Courier Correspondent

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