Chiefs safety Sanders Commings expressed his grief about the mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., which took the life of nine people, including the pastor, a state senator who is also Commings’ cousin.
“RIP to my cousin #ClementaPinckney,” Commings posted Thursday morning on Twitter, hours after The Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney and eight others were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night during a prayer meeting. A suspect was taken into custody on Thursday.
Commings was present at the final day of the Chiefs’ offseason program Thursday, a mandatory minicamp session. He was not available for comment, but Chiefs officials confirmed that Pinckney was a blood relative.
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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sanders Commings and his family,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said following practice Thursday. “He’s doing OK, as expected. That’s a pretty big shock. That’s all I can probably say to you.”
Reid agreed with the notion that “it took a lot” for Commings to come out and practice Thursday.
“It does, it does,” Reid said. “But he’ll be able to head back and take care of business.”
Sylvia Johnson, another cousin of Pinckney, told NBC News that she had spoken with a survivor of the shooting who told her the gunman reloaded five times. The survivor, she said, told her that the gunman had entered the church and asked for the pastor. Then he sat next to Pinckney during the Bible study before opening fire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report