This post was updated at 11:18 a.m.
The 2016 presidential candidates on Thursday offered prayers and condolences to members of the Charleston, S.C., community, where nine people were killed in a church shooting Wednesday night.
The most personal response came from GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s native son in the presidential election.
“Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Charleston. We are all heartbroken by this tragedy,” said Graham in a statement. “To the families of the victims, please know that you are being prayed for and loved by so many in the community and across the nation. I pray that God will provide you healing in the coming days.”
Graham added that “our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken.”
“There are bad people in this world who are motivated by hate. Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by the individual who perpetrated these horrible acts,” he said.
The Republican lawmaker also announced that he was canceling several campaign stops in Philadelphia and New Hampshire this weekend to return home.
Other candidates weighed in over social media.
The Bush campaign announced after midnight Thursday that it would cancel a scheduled political event in Charleston “due to the tragic events unfolding in South Carolina tonight.”
Several presidential hopefuls spoke about the shooting during previously scheduled media appearances, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
“In my mind, there are no words strong enough to condemn that — evil, terror, whatever you want to call it. This is horrific. It’s almost unimaginable. This shouldn’t happen,” Jindal said on CNN Thursday morning. “Our hearts break. I do hope that this community will be able to find some comfort in their faith.”
For his part, Santorum also raised concerns that the attack may have been motivated by anti-religious sentiments.
“This is obviously a crime of hate…. All you can do is pray for those [men and women] and pray for our country,” Santorum told radio host Joe Piscopo on AM 970 Thursday. “You talk about the importance of prayer in this time, and we’re now seeing assaults on our religious liberty that we’ve never seen before. It’s a time for deeper reflection beyond this horrible situation.”