A mass murderer is on the loose after an horrific shooting left nine people dead inside one of the nation's most historic black churches.  

It happened during a Wednesday night prayer meeting at the Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  That's when witnesses say a young white man came inside and opened fire.

The church's pastor Clementa Pinckney, who is also a South Carolina State Senator, is among the dead.

The city's police chief is calling the incident a hate crime and describes the search effort as "all hands on deck."

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was due to campaign in Charleston later today.  He has cancelled his event out of respect.