Witnesses: Charleston shooting victim Tywanza Sanders died trying to protect his aunt

theGRIO REPORT - According to family members, Tywanza Sanders, 26, died a hero, trying to save his aunt and talk down the shooter.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Tywanza Sanders reportedly tried to talk Dylann Roof out of killing anyone at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night.

But Roof fired shots anyway.

According to witnesses, Sanders died trying to protect his 87-year-old aunt Susie Jackson, who was also fatally struck by Roof’s bullets.

Sanders, 26, was the youngest of the nine shooting victims. Susie Jackson’s cousin Ethel Lance was also killed during the shooting.

Family members are calling Sanders a “hero.”

“He tried to step in front of his aunt to save her,” Sanders’ friend Torrence Shaw told People. “He took her bullet.

Roof initially responded to Sanders’ pleas for peace by saying he “had” to do what he planned because “You are rape our women,” and “You’re taking over our country,” presumably referring to African-Americans.

When Roof pointed his gun at Jackson first, Sanders asked for him to point the weapon at him instead.

“It doesn’t matter,” Roof said according to Kristen Washington, who was told what happened by family members who survived the massacre. “I’m going to shoot all of you.”

Then Roof allegedly did exactly that.


The suspected gunman was arrested Thursday in North Carolina. He faces nine counts of murder and the death penalty.

Photos from Tywanza Sanders’ Instagram:

#churchflow #grindovermatter #moneymotivitemoney #checkyoview #CL #kcc #press #push #pray @freshwanza

A photo posted by TyWanza Sanders (@freshwanza) on