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'I'm always hurting': Local leader reacts to Buffalo shooting, reflects on Charleston Massacre

Like the Charleston Massacre, investigators are saying the alleged Buffalo shooter targeted his victims because they were Black.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For many South Carolinians, Saturday's mass shooting in Buffalo sounded all too familiar. 

Nearly seven years ago, a declared racist killed nine black worshippers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. 

Like the Charleston Massacre, investigators are saying the alleged Buffalo shooter target his victims because they were Black. 

RELATED: Buffalo shooter targeted Black neighborhood, officials say

State Rep. JA Moore's sister, Myra Thompson, was one of those killed 

"She was a real person, just a regular person, a good person, a mother, a wife, a sister, auntie, a grandma," Moore said. "She was just a person. And she was taken away from, from us, from the world, so brutally."

Moore said he remembers that horrific day like it was yesterday. 

"The pain, the hurt, the loss, the grief. I'm a different person because of that tragedy, and I'm always hurting. It's going to always be painful," Moore said.

Moore said he knows the pain and grief the families of those killed Saturday are feeling.

"My heart breaks for the families that now are going to have similar experiences the rest of their life," said Moore. "Pain and emptiness and longing to find answers and seeking justice."

Moore's father got involved in the Civil Rights Movement in 1962 when he was 32 years old, Moore said. 

"Fast forward all these years later, I'm in my 30s, and I'm fighting sometimes what feels like the same battles," said Moore. "The sense of justice, the sense of liberty, the sense of all of us as Americans having the right to pursue happiness."

RELATED: Survivor of Charleston church massacre urges South Carolina Senate to pass hate crime law

RELATED: 'Pure evil:' 10 killed in Buffalo, NY shooting labeled as hate crime

Between the shooting in Buffalo and another at a California church, president of the South Carolina NAACP Brenda Murphy believes too many are losing their lives because of who they are. 

"When are we going to come together and realize that this is something ... it just doesn't affect us as Black people, but it affects people of color, LBGT community, you know, so many," said Murphy. 

Murphy hopes the weekend of violence sparks a movement to create change in communities across the country. 

"Whatever affects one directly affects all, indirectly," said Murphy. 

Murphy and Moore tell News 19 they will keep advocating for hate crimes legislation in South Carolina. The measure passed the the house, but ultimately failed this legislative session after being held up by Republican Senators.  

“The truth of the matter is, that only justice is for my sister to be alive, and she isn't.”

RELATED: Here's what's known about the Buffalo mass shooting suspect

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