Charleston Church Hate Crime Murders
On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. Nine people were killed, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The congregation is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights.
Police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina, the morning after the attack. The United States Department of Justice is investigating the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism, among other motives. Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder by the State of South Carolina. If convicted, Roof could face a sentence of death or thirty years to life in prison. A website apparently published by Roof included a manifesto detailing his beliefs on race, as well as several photographs showing him posing with emblems associated with white supremacy. Roof's photos of the Confederate battle flag triggered debate on its modern display.
At around 9:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the Charleston Police Department responded to calls of a shooting at Emanuel AME Church. A man described as white, with sandy-blond hair, around 21 years old and 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) in height, wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans, opened fire with a Glock 41 .45-caliber handgun on a group of people inside the church at a Bible study attended by Pinckney. The shooter then fled. The shooting was the largest mass murder at an American place of worship, alongside a 1991 mass shooting at a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona.
Specific Hypothesis and Results
The GCP event was set for 8:00 pm local time, approximately when the bible study session began to 04:00. This includes the time when Roof sat with the worshipers. He began shooting around 21:00. The result is Chisquare 29056.842 on 28800 df, for p = 0.142 and Z = 1.070.
The following graph is a visual display of the statistical result. It shows the second-by-second accumulation of small deviations of the data from what’s expected. Our prediction is that deviations will tend to be positive, and if this is so, the jagged line will tend to go upward. If the endpoint is positive, this is evidence for the general hypothesis and adds to the bottom line. If the endpoint is outside the smooth curve showing 0.05 probability, the deviation is nominally significant. If the trend of the cumulative deviation is downward, this is evidence against the hypothesis, and is subtracted from the bottom line. For more detail on how to interpret the results, see The Science and related pages, as well as the standard caveat below.
It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every
success might be largely driven by chance, and every
null might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.