WASHINGTON: Indian-American governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley today said the 21-year-old gunman who killed nine persons inside a historic black church in a hate crime should get the death penalty.
“We will absolutely want him to have the death penalty,” Haley told NBC News.
Nine people, including pastor-cum-state senator Clementa Pinckney, were shot dead during an attack inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night.
The police arrested a 21-year-old white male on the charges of killing people.
Haley also has asked people of South Carolina to stay calm and maintain peace, a day after the deadly shootout in Charleston. “We’ve got some pain we have to go through. Parents are having to explain to their kids how they can go to church and feel safe, and that’s not something we ever thought we’d deal with,” Haley said.
“There is a lot of prayer in this state. (The families of the victims) need us and the people of South Carolina need us to come together and be strong for what has happened,” she said as she battled her emotions during the news conference.
“We allow ourselves to grieve, we allow ourselves to pray, we allow ourselves to question why this happens and then we allow ourselves to heal,” she said.
“We can now tell our children that that person is in custody and we can now not only lift up our law-enforcement communities but thank them and give them the credit they deserve and the courage that they deserve,” Haley said.
Haley’s remarks were praised by Indian-American Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. A presidential aspirant, Jindal also lashed out at US President Barack Obama for his statements on the church shooting, which he alleged tended to divide the country on sectarian lines.
“I think for today what the commander-in-chief should have done – he could he emulated what Nikki Haley did – what a great governor of her state, coming and speaking for the people of South Carolina saying our hearts are broken and having that candid moment on TV,” Jindal told the MSNBC in an interview.
“You can see the emotion, that’s beginning the healing process. The President could have asked the country – he could have said, instead of talking about politics we’re not democrats, republicans, independents, blacks whites; we’re Americans. We all need to worship together,” Jindal said.
Obama had said: “I say that recognising the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”