Thousands of residents from across the Charleston area gathered on the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, one of Charleston's main thoroughfares, yesterday (21 June) to remember nine black church members shot dead last Wednesday.

Local organisers said about 3,000 people joined hands along the bridge's footpath to show solidarity and support for the people killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and their families, NBC reported.

The suspect, Dylann Roof, was arrested on Thursday and has been charged with nine counts of murder. Authorities say he spent an hour in an evening Bible study group at the church, nicknamed "Mother Emanuel" for its key role in US black history, before opening fire.

Federal investigators were examining a racist manifesto on a website that appeared to have been written by Roof. The site featured white supremacist writings and photos, apparently of Roof.

The massacre has again trained a spotlight on the divisive issues of race relations and gun crime in the US and reignited a debate over gun control in a country where the right to own firearms is constitutionally protected.