Republican State Rep. William Chumley of South Carolina claimed on June 23 that the nine black victims killed on June 17 in a Charleston, South Carolina, church "waited their turn to be shot."
Chumley was being interviewed by CNN about his support for keeping the Confederate flag on the state capitol grounds when he made his statement about the shootings (video below):
"We’re focusing on the wrong thing here. We need to be focusing on the nine families that are left and see that this doesn’t happen again. These people sat in there, waited their turn to be shot. That’s sad. But somebody in there with the means of self defense could have stopped this. And we’d have had less funerals than we’re having.
"...You said guns. Why didn't somebody, why didn't somebody just do something? I mean, you've got one skinny person shooting a gun. I mean, we need to do what we can."
Chumley was not an eyewitness to the shooting and provided no evidence to back up his extraordinary claim.
Actual witnesses say Tywanza Sanders placed himself between the shooter and his great aunt Susie Jackson, 87, noted The Guardian; an act of heroism that cost Sanders his life.
National Rifle Association board member Charles Cotton blamed one of the victims of the attack, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, last week.
The Washington Post notes that Cotton slammed Pinckney, who was also a state lawmaker, on the TexasCHL.com forum:
"And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue."
Cotton later told The Washington Post he was speaking as a private citizen, not as a NRA board member.