By Maya Rhodan
Updated: June 18, 2015 5:52 PM ET

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden said Thursday that their “hearts ache with sorrow” in the wake of Wednesday’s church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine people dead. Their statement was released after President Obama’s remarks from the White House and after authorities confirmed the suspected shooter, Dylann Roof, 21, was apprehended in North Carolina.

Here’s the full statement from the Bidens:

Hate has once again been let loose in an American community. And the senseless actions of a coward have once again cut short so many lives with so much promise. Our hearts ache with sorrow with the entire Emanuel AME Church family as they seek solace and comfort in the shadow of a gunman’s act of pure evil and hatred. Our love and prayers are with them.

We last saw Reverend Clementa Pinckney less than a year ago at a prayer breakfast in Columbia. He was a good man, a man of faith, a man of service who carried forward Mother Emanuel’s legacy as a sacred place promoting freedom, equality, and justice for all. We pray for him and his sister as we do for the seven other innocent souls who entered that storied church for their weekly Bible study seeking nothing more than humble guidance for the full lives ahead of them.

We have no doubt the coward who committed this heinous act will be brought to justice. But as a nation we must confront the ravages of gun violence and the stain of hatred that continues to be visited on our streets, in our schools, in our houses of worship, and in our communities.

As Mayor Riley made clear, all of Charleston’s heart bleeds today—but the overwhelming display of unity will bring forth the city’s healing. We will never forget those innocent souls who lost their lives. We will be there with all the strength and support and prayers we can offer to the families who now grieve. And as a nation we will come together.

Read next: Everything We Know About the Charleston Shooting

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