Home / News / ‘Part of me died that night’: Life after surviving the Charleston church shooting

‘Part of me died that night’: Life after surviving the Charleston church shooting

Felicia Sanders is grappling with an unexpected casualty of the deadly Emanuel AME shooting — the loss of connection to the church that shaped her life. Sanders survived the 2015 shooting by playing dead as a gunman killed nine people attending Bible study. For survivors of mass shootings, their emotional and psychological wounds are often unrecognized. Sanders says the overwhelming media attention and calls for unity and solidarity by the church have not translated into actual emotional support for survivors like her. In her eyes, the church’s leaders failed to privately minister to the most vulnerable, even as they publicly called for forgiveness and healing. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

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    Obviously the GUN LOBBY should pay for solutions 🌷🌷🌷

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    Heart breaking 😪.

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    My heart goes out to Felicia and every mother who loses a child to violence. There is no greater pain.

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    yeah right..just another h.oax shooting with fake victims & 'crisis actors'..similar to sandy hook

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    May God please bless you and your family. May God please keep you wrapped in His grace and mercy… is my prayer in Jesus name I pray amen.

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    This is so sad, that the church abandoned her. 😭 how could you NOT take care of your own people?! What? Why? SMH 😥

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    "The last part of my family members going down the drain" SO Heartbreaking! I had to take a long breathe after that. Her son was so selfless.
    While non of us know both sides and I'm sure The Post has done all they could to substantiate her version of events and correspondence, it is perplexing why the church wouldn't want to make things right for her. And why they wouldn't compensate the young granddaughter as a survivor since they did compensate another survivor.
    And it's not up to both Senior Pastors involved to dictate what feels right for the survivors to ask for regarding the initial post tragedy bible study location, church access and compensation, etc. It's not their first hand trauma.
    The leadership could have listened more and talked less even though Rev. Manning said he is wanting to be "trauma informed." Take care of all of the flock.
    This could have been delicately dealt with privately and quickly, using an intermediary if necessary. And now it's lead to the necessity of showing transparency of the finances because the amount of money involved. The grandchild's mental well being should be paid for before their Moving Forward Fund and the city fund.
    The church made this ugly and hurtful.
    Wasn't it enough that the shooter brought so much sadness and hate to their church? They have rejected the lesson to have been taught by this act of violence. Sending positive thoughts and love in hopes of healing and wisdom.

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    this broke my heart, it is painful to see Felicia trapped underneath such crippling grief and not being supported by the very people God "sent" to assist in times such as this.

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    I believe I Woulden't like some photographer/ news reporter comming into my church, taking pictures. Outside is ok, but why interrupt worship in session? Unless you thought it would benefit you somehow? Perhaps you needed more attention, ok I understand, Maybe some anger venting, ok I understand. Motives need clarification for you to heal. Everyone was in shock, what more could be done?

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    It’s obvious that the left paid him, purpose? Is to make voters think that he’s a Trumper! That the right are the ones doing these killings, just cos he’s white. To prove that Trump is racist.

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    I had breaks cancer, my whole family got killed in the church I go to my whole life…. How dumb are these muricans? At what point do you realize there is no God?

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