SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Church leaders across the nation reacted with shock and heartbreak to news of the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine dead. 

The Bethel A-M-E Church in Grant Hill welcomed the entire community to Thursday's prayer vigil to show support and solidarity with those who are mourning the senseless loss of life in South Carolina. 

Reverend White is the pastor at Bethel A-M-E Church, and has attended the church at Emanuel A-M-E in Charleston. He met Rev. Clementa and personally new Minister Daniel Simmons, who both lost their lives. 

"Churches are safe places, and part of what this young man's actions are, is to take the peace of the church," said Rev. White. 

He met with San Diego Police in advance of the public prayer session. 

"Violence can happen tonight. If someone says, I heard they're having a big meeting, it might be a good chance to make my statement. It can happen here tonight," said Reverend White. 

While the shootings in Charleston may have been motivated by racism, Rev. White's message Thursday night focused on preventing violence in our society. 

San Diegans of all races, all religions gathered at the church to show support for the victims.

"I just ask, when will we become better people, and a better way of handling our disagreements other than to take someone's life," he said. 

"We, as Americans, we have to come to gripe with out violent ways, and that it's out of hand," said Rev. Leslie White, before the prayer vigil. 

"We stand together in prayer and in unity asking for guidance from God. We're gathered here tonight as a community to ask you Father to heal the hearts of those who have lost loved ones," said Pastor Shane Harris.