Washington – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., will attend funeral services Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, for the pastor killed last week in a church shooting that left eight other people dead, Scalise’s office confirmed.
The shooting apparently was racially motivated. The shooter, a young white man, indicated as much before opening fire on the victims, all of them black, according to survivors’ accounts.
Police have arrested a suspect, Dylann Roof, whose web site includes white-supremacist material.
Scalise’s attendance takes on a higher profile because of the controversy that erupted in December when reports surfaced of his 2002 speech in Metairie to white supremacists gathered for a conference organized by a group founded by notorious neo-Nazi David Duke. Scalise, who was then a state representative, has said he was unaware of his audience’s affiliations and that the appearance was a regrettable mistake.
President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for the pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.