2:20 p.m.

Davis Statue Vandalized

The South Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans vows to fight lawmakers who want to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

But commander Leland Summers said Thursday they don’t want to talk about their plans yet out of respect for the families of the people killed in last week’s church shooting. Summers was joined by about 30 other members of the group in the shadow of the rebel banner.

Summers emphasized his group had nothing to do with Dylann Roof, the suspected gunman. He called him a “wicked nutcase” and said Roof may be “getting the race war he desired” with the sudden push to get rid of Confederate flags and monuments across the country. “We played right into his malicious hands,” Summers said.

He also read the name of all nine victims of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and said his group is hurting with them.

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2:10 p.m.

The family of suspected church gunman Dylann Roof has released a statement saying they know people are asking questions about Roof, but they do not want to say anything because victims’ families are still grieving.

The first funerals began Thursday for some of the nine people killed in what police say was a racially motivated attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last week.

Roof’s family’s statement says they will do their best in the coming days to answer questions but they feel it would be inappropriate to say anything at this time.

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1:15 p.m.

Hundreds of mourners are filing past the casket of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, the second Charleston church shooting victim to be laid to rest.

A picture of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton sits on a large paper signed by students, teachers and friends on Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Goose Creek, S.C. Goose Creek High School held a memorial for the speech pathologist and girls track coach, who was one of the nine people killed on Wednesday night by a gunman at Emanuel AME Church where she was a part-time minister. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

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.

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11:40 a.m.

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.

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11:20 a.m.

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.

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10:15 a.m.

Sharon Risher, bottom, and Brandon Risher, the daughter and grandson of Ethel Lance, embrace next to Lance’s casket during her funeral service, Thursday, June 25, 2015, in North Charleston, S.C. Lance was one of the nine people killed in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church last week in Charleston. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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.

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A spray painted message of “Black Lives Matter” was painted on a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Thursday, June 25, 2015. The vandalism comes after a mass shooting in Charleston South Carolina has sparked a nationwide debate on the public display of Confederate imagery. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

9:40 a.m.

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.

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9:30 a.m.

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.

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8:20 a.m.

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.”