MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - 1,825 days. That’s how long Marjorie Cloakley McIver has gone without seeing her sister who was killed in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston five years ago Wednesday.
McIver lives in Conway and described her sister, Myra Thompson, as spiritual and family-driven. Even her last day on this earth was spent praising God.
On June 17, 2015, nine members of the Mother Emanuel Church congregation lost their lives when convicted shooter Dylann Roof opened fire during a Bible study.
Polly Sheppard spoke about when she came face-to-face with Roof, saying he told her, “I’m not going to shoot you. I’m going to leave you here to tell the story.”
McIver’s sister Myra Thompson was leading the study. She said she visited Charleston earlier that day and when she returned home to Conway, she received a call from her other sister.
“It was shortly after 9 o’clock, my baby sister called and she said you’ve got to come back,” McIver said. "I said, ‘Come back for what?’ Then she shared the story. I immediately turned on the television and all I could see is them looking for this 21-year-old whose life should have just been beginning.”
McIver said at the time they didn’t know how serious everything was inside the church because it was an active investigation.
On the day of Thompson’s death, McIver said her sister had just received her license to preach.
In the months following Thompson’s death, McIver sat through Roof’s trial for five weeks.
There was one thing about him she said she remembers.
“All I could remember were his eyes," she said. "I also look at the recent killing of George Floyd and looking at the officer, all I could see were his eyes and I’m reminded that it’s said that the eyes are the windows to the soul and when I see tragedies like this the first thing I’m drawn to are the eyes, the blank stare.”
Over the past few weeks, people have fought for justice across country following the death of George Floyd, from protests to riots and anything in between.
With the feelings of coming face-to-face with Roof remaining fresh in her mind, McIver spoke of the future.
“I think if we can do the right kind of community building, relationship building, sensitivity training, that there’s hope," she said.
There are several events to honor Emanuel 9. A full list can be found below.