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Press Release

Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen Reaches Out to Area Clergy in Aftermath of Violence in Charleston

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
In the aftermath of the violence in Charleston, South Carolina, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. circulated this letter on June 18, 2015 to the faith-based community in the District of Columbia.

Dear Clergy:

I am writing to offer my deepest condolences in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred yesterday evening at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims who lost their lives, the A.M.E. church family, and all congregations and places of worship in our community. There is no place in our society for this type of vicious attack, and the U.S. Attorney's Office seeks to offer encouragement to everyone affected by this tragedy.

As you may have heard, the Department of Justice has opened a hate crimes investigation. Earlier today, I spoke by phone with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the United States Attorney for South Carolina about the work that they are doing to investigate and prosecute this terrible act. As our colleagues in law enforcement continue to investigate this matter, please know that my office continues to be a resource for all clergy and places of worship in the District.

This horrific event reminds us of the importance of discussing ways to improve safety, even within the most sacred of places and assemblies. In the following days, we will seek to hear from you about how my office and our law enforcement partners can assist clergy during this troubling time. It is our desire to work together as a community to best identify proactive techniques that might aid places of worship with enhancing overall safety for their congregants and respective communities.

I look forward to continuing our partnership as we strengthen the bonds in our community. Thank you for your work and leadership.


Vincent H. Cohen, Jr.

Acting United States Attorney

Updated June 19, 2015