CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Reverend Sharon Risher lost her mother, Ethel Vance, in the 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Vance was one of nine African American church parishioners who lost their lives in the racially-motivated shooting.
Risher lives in Charlotte now, but travels the country speaking about the aftermath of the shooting and the debate over gun control in America. Risher said it was unsettling for her to hear about the shooting once again Thursday afternoon while watching the news.
"That was one of the first leading stories and they flashed Dylann Roof's picture and I had to turn my head because that particular picture they use is the picture to me that I see that soulless demon," explained Risher.
Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof is currently in custody, but his face was once again on news broadcasts because of the recent actions of one of his family members.
Roof's sister, Morgan Roof, was arrested Wednesday in South Carolina and was charged with simple possession of marijuana and two counts of carrying weapons on school grounds.
Deputies say the School Resource Officer at A.C. Flora High School was contacted by an administrator about Roof having marijuana, pepper spray, and a knife on school grounds. Officials said Morgan Roof had also made a social media post on Snapchat that deputies say caused alarm to the student body.
Risher spoke to WBTV about the incident Thursday evening.
"People like her and her brother tend to be sick in their souls," said Risher.
The reverend thinks that all of the events surrounding Dylann Roof have likely had an impact on his sister.
"I don't want to hate this little girl. I really don't. But she needs help," said Risher.
Morgan Roof was booked into a South Carolina jail following her arrest. She is not allowed to return to the school where she was taken into custody.
Risher said it is not too late for Morgan Roof to turn her life in a positive direction.
"I pray that she gets some help. I pray people pay attention to her before she does something to herself or to somebody else," said the reverend.
When asked if she had a message for Morgan Roof, Risher responded, "I hope you find the love you need in your life."