Funeral to be held for woman whose husband forgave suspect

Survivors and Relatives Openly Forgive Charleston Gunman In Court

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The funeral for the victim whose husband offered forgiveness to the suspect in the deadly shootings at a South Carolina church will be held Monday at the church where the attack took place.

Myra Thompson, 59, was one of nine people gunned down during Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17.

During a court appearance last week, Thompson's widower, Anthony Thompson, told the 21-year-old suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, that his family offered their forgiveness.

"We would like you to take this opportunity to repent," Anthony Thompson said by video stream. "Do that and you'll be better off than you are right now."

All nine of the victims in the shooting were black and police contend the attack was racially motivated.

Thompson's funeral Monday will follow services for four other victims held at Emanuel AME this weekend that brought political and religious leaders in addition to friends and family.

Those who spoke at the services echoed the similar theme that the lives lost would bring about positive social change.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and the Rev. Jesse Jackson attended the funerals on Saturday and Sunday, delivering similar remarks while adding personal touches for the different victims.

During the funeral Saturday for Tywanza Sanders, 26, and his aunt, Susie Jackson, 87, Haley said the attack happened on her watch and promised "we will make this right." The governor did not say what actions she planned to take.

Haley has already joined a host of politicians in Southern states who have spoken out in favor of removing symbols of the Confederacy from flags, monuments and license plates after Roof was shown in photos posing with a Confederate battle flag and burning the U.S. flag.

PHOTOS: Victims of the Charleston church shooting:

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Charleston, SC church shooting victims
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Funeral to be held for woman whose husband forgave suspect
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Photographs of the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina are held up by congregants during a prayer vigil at the the Metropolitan AME Church June 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earlier today the suspect in the case, Dylan Storm Roof, was charged with nine counts of murder. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Photographs of the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina are held up by congregants during a prayer vigil at the the Metropolitan AME Church June 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earlier today the suspect in the case, Dylan Storm Roof, was charged with nine counts of murder. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Congregants depart a prayer vigil for the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church pass by photographs of the nine shooting victims in Charleston, South Carolina outside the the Metropolitan AME Church June 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earlier today the suspect in the case, Dylan Storm Roof, was charged with nine counts of murder. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A woman holds a sign and the funeral program for shooting victim Cynthia Hurd's funeral service at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Standing before the presidential rostrum, Rev. Sharon Risher reacts as she holds a photo of her mother Ethel who was a victim in the Charleston Church mass shooting last year during an event held by U.S. President Barack Obama to announce new gun control measures, at the White House in Washington January 5, 2016. Obama made an emotional plea on Tuesday in defense of his administration's plan to increase background checks for buyers of firearms over the Internet and at gun shows, saying current exceptions do not make sense.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Pleshette Grant and her son Evan arrive for funeral services to begin for Ethel Lance at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, South Carolina June 25, 2015. Lance is one of the nine victims of the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Clifford Jones waits for funeral services to begin for Ethel Lance at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, South Carolina, June 25, 2015. Lance is one of the nine victims of the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pictured in 2012, was among those killed Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in a shooting in a church in downtown Charleston, S.C. (Andy Shain/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
SHE HAS A NAME; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, a mother of four daughters, singer in church choir was killed at AME. http://t.co/YoqNF1yiOD
SHE HAS A NAME: Myra Thompson, killed last night at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. She was teaching bible study. http://t.co/NlqoNfjPP2
HE HAS A NAME: Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., another pastor at the Emanuel AME church who was killed last night. http://t.co/n4sz9GBBxf
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Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley Jr. said at Saturday's service for Cynthia Hurd, 54, that the tragedy "shook an America that didn't want to believe this kind of hatred could still exist."

Hours before the funeral for DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, began Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at the church's morning service to speak and worship.

Biden gave his condolences to the families of the victims and received a standing ovation after reading a selection of scripture.

The vice president's son, Beau, died late last month of brain cancer. Beau Biden narrowly avoided death as a young boy in a 1972 car crash that killed Joe Biden's first wife and his daughter.

"The reason I came was to draw strength from all of you," Biden said. "I wish I could say something that would ease the pain."

The vice president later joined the congregation in holding hands and singing "We Shall Overcome."

The crowd of family and friends was so large at Middleton-Doctor's funeral, which Biden did not attend, that many watched the service on closed-circuit TV from the church's first floor, where the shooting took place. The mood in the overflow space was enthusiastic and many stood to clap, sing and even shake a tambourine along with the music being played at the service one floor above.

The funeral for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Emanuel AME's pastor and a state senator, was held Friday at a basketball arena in Charleston with President Barack Obama delivering a eulogy.

The president spoke about the need to address issues like poverty, gun control and job discrimination before surprising many when he began singing "Amazing Grace."


You Absolutely Have To Watch Obama's Full Eulogy

Malik Shabazz, the national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told about 30 people gathered in a small park in Charleston on Sunday evening that the message of forgiveness expressed by the families of the shooting victims was "unnatural."

Shabazz praised Denmark Vesey, a founder of the Emanuel AME Church who was killed for attempting to organize a failed slave revolt. Using force, including weapons, is justified in self-defense against "white supremacy," Shabazz said. But he denied he supports violence against white people.

See photos of President Obama speaking at the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney:
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Funeral to be held for woman whose husband forgave suspect
US Vice President Joe Biden (L) hugs US President Barack Obama after Obama delivered the eulogy during the funeral of Rev. and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015. US President Barack Obama made a fresh pitch for tighter gun controls as he eulogized the pastor killed in the Charleston church shootings, saying Americans had ignored the toll of gun violence for too long. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama embraces Jennifer Pinckney, the wife of the slain Rev. and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, during his funeral at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets Jennifer Pinckney, during the funeral of slain pastor Rev. and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed during the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church along with eight others, at the College Charleston TD Arena on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21 years old, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Paul Zoeller-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama claps his hands before he delivers the eulogy during the funeral of slain South Carolina State Sen and Rev.Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama bows his head with First Lady Michelle Obama before he delivers the eulogy during the funeral of slain South Carolina State Sen. and Rev Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21 years old, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Charleston Air Force Base on June 26, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Obama will deliver the eulogy for one of the victims in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME, Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21 years old, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Paul Zoeller-Pool/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Charleston Air Force Base on June 26, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Obama will deliver the eulogy for one of the victims in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME, Sen. Clementa Pinckney. Suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21 years old, is accused of killing nine people on June 17th during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Paul Zoeller-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama step off Air Force One upon arrival at Charleston Air Force Base on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Obama is in Charleston, South Carolina to attend services for Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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