SC rep: Self-defense could have stopped Charleston shooting

A South Carolina representative raised questions Tuesday over whether the nine deaths from last week's Charleston, S.C., shooting could have been avoided if the victims had taken measures of self-defense.

State Rep. William Chumley (R) deflected questions from a CNN reporter over whether the confederate flag should be taken down, and wondered if some of the deaths could have been avoided if the churchgoers tried to thwart the gunman, Dylann Storm Roof.

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“We are focusing on the wrong thing,” Chumley told the reporter. “These people sat in there and waited their turn to be shot. That’s sad, when somebody in there with the means of self-defense could have stopped this, and would have less funerals than we’re having.”

The state representative pressed on with the issue of self-defense, asking why “somebody didn’t just do something.”

“You got one skinny person shooting a gun, we need to do what we can,” he said.

The reporter asked Chumley whether he thought someone should have tried to tackle or fight the gunman. Chumley did not offer his specific recommended strategy, although he implied the victims had time to think of ways to protect themselves. 

“I don’t know what the answer was, but I know it’s really horrible for nine people to be shot,” he said. “I understand that he reloaded his gun during the process, that’s upsetting.”