Vigils held in Harlem to remember victims of South Carolina church shooting

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NEW YORK -- In Harlem, many gathered for vigils and prayer services on Thursday night to remember the nine lives lost when a gunman opened fire in a South Carolina church, an attack that is being investigated as a hate crime.

In addition to heartbreak and anger, security was also visible at the gatherings.

As a precaution, the NYPD said it notified the Patrol Services Bureau, as well as Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Bureaus, to pay special attention to any church locations throughout the city.

Meanwhile, many in Harlem Thursday night prayed for victims and denounced the violence. There was a vigil at the Abyssinian Baptist Church followed by a march.

Dozens marched, some from other locations, and a group from the Abyssinian Baptist Church, all ending at the First A.M.E. Church: Bethel in Harlem.

Suspected gunman Dylan Storm Roof, 21, was taken into custody during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, Thursday -- a day after the massacre. Roof allegedly said he was at the church to shoot black people.

"I am so pleased that we were able to resolve this case quickly not only for the families, but for our community, for our state," said Chief Gregory Mullen with the Charleston Police Department.

On Thursday night, the pain was evident in Harlem, prayers were many, and a message of support was clear.

"A house of prayer is supposed to be a sanctuary, a place of peace," Harlem resident Landon Dais said.

There was also a moment of silence for the victims.

In a statement, the NYPD said: "Our Intelligence Bureau will continue to maintain liaison with the various law enforcement agencies investigating the Charleston incident and assess the NYPD response accordingly."

The Department of Justice has opened a hate crime investigation into the South Carolina shooting.