Philadelphia's Mother Bethel AME Church will host a prayer vigil Thursday night to pray for those affected by the Charleston, S.C., church massacre.

The interfaith service is set to take place at 7 p.m. at the church at 6th and Lombard streets.

"Please join us in prayer for the victims and the families of Mother Emanuel AME Church," the church wrote on its Facebook page.

Nine people were shot to death at Mother Emanuel in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night by a white gunman. The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was apprehended Thursday morning.

Officials are calling the attack at the historically black church a hate crime.

Philadelphia-area leaders have been expressing sympathy for the six women and three men killed in the shooting.

"Please keep all those affected by this horrible incident in your prayers," state Sen. Anthony H. Williams wrote on Twitter.

U.S. Sen Pat Toomey called the shooting a "terrible tragedy."

"Strong community and leaders will guide the city through this," the Pennsylvania Republican tweeted. "All impacted are in my thoughts."

City Managing Director Richard Negrin posted on Twitter that he was praying for Charleston and Mother Emanual.

"Never allow hate & violence to triumph over peace & love," he wrote.

New Jersey Sen. Cory A. Booker, who said the "hate-filled attack" was "nothing less than an attack on our nation and our American values," voiced similar sentiments.

"I know that anyone responsible for this hateful crime will be swiftly brought to justice," he said in a statement. "As communities and as a country standing together, our unity and love will ultimately triumph over violence, hatred, and evil."

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson posted an Instagram photo of a prayer circle, with the caption, "Praying for the families of the Emanual AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina."

Some, like U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, denounced gun violence in the aftermath of the mass shooting.

"Even Church unsafe with unlimited access to guns," he wrote on Twitter.

Area law enforcement officials also voiced outrage at the violence.

On Twitter, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood called the gunman a "true Urban Terrorist" and a "coward."

SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel wrote on the social network that the incident was "horrifying."

"Who is capable of carrying and delivering such venomous hate?" he asked.

Founded by the Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia in 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the world's oldest independent religious denomination founded by blacks.

The Emanuel AME church is a historic African American church that also traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston's Methodist Episcopal church.

One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Some parishioners made their way to Philadelphia in the aftermath while those who remained worshipped underground until after the Civil War.