- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A resolution declaring June 17 as Mother Emanuel Nine Day to honor the victims gunned down in a Charleston church last summer is advancing in the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the resolution Tuesday. It also encourages South Carolinians to reflect on race relations on the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal, one of the nation’s oldest black churches.

Police say Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white man charged with their murders, wanted to start a race war.

The resolution states the community instead “responded by an outpouring of love and unity.”

The House approved the resolution three weeks ago.

The victims included Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor.

Roof’s trial on state charges starts in July. The state is seeking the death penalty.

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