Joe Riley, the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, said the case of the shooter who killed nine people during a prayer service at a historically black church "would merit" the death penalty.
During a press conference Friday, Riley said he's generally not in favor of the death penalty, but "that's the law in South Carolina."
"I'm personally not a proponent of the death penalty," Riley said.
"I think it collectively over time adds to violence," he added. "I think people who commit serious crimes should lose their freedom forever, but that's the law in South Carolina, no doubt it will be sought."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for suspect Dylann Roof to receive the death penalty.
“We will absolutely want him to have the death penalty,” Haley said during a Friday interview on NBC's "Today," calling Roof "a person filled with hate."
During the press conference, Riley said there would be a prayer service and vigil for shooting victims near the church at 6 p.m. ET.