The Westboro Baptist Church has threatened to picket the funerals of the Charleston shooting victims. Pictured, a member of the group protests before the start of the TicketCity Bowl football game in Dallas, Jan. 2, 2012. Reuters

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are threatening to picket the funerals of the victims of Wednesday’s shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. The group, based in Topeka, Kansas, blamed Hillary Clinton for the deaths, saying the “blood of Charleston Shooting dead is on [her] hands,” a reference to the Democratic front-runner’s support among the church’s leaders.

The small extremist group, known for its inflammatory statements about gay people, Jews and politicians, and for picketing soldiers' funerals, encouraged its followers via Twitter Thursday to “get some signs and picket the funerals.” Nine people were killed inside the historic Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston after a gunman -- now identified as Dylann Storm Roof and caught Thursday -- opened fire on a prayer meeting there.

The Westboro Baptist Church has frequently surfaced at times of tragedy with pickets of celebrity and soldier funerals, brandishing signs with slogans like “God hates fags” and “Soldiers die for fag marriage.” The group also branded the Charleston’s church’s leader, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, as a “lying preacher” who supported Clinton’s “sin campaign.” Pinckney was among the victims of Wednesday’s attack.

Pinckney, who was elected to the South Carolina Legislature as a state senator in 1996, was a Democrat who had campaigned in Charleston with Clinton, according to MSNBC. He was a father of two who started preaching at the age of 13 and became a pastor at 18 and a state legislator at 23.

Witnesses said Roof declared that he was there to “shoot black people” and that he used a handgun. Roof was taken into custody Thursday after he was caught in Shelby, North Carolina, about 245 miles from Charleston. He was armed at the time of his arrest, but it was unclear whether the weapon he carried was the one used in the attack, according to CNN.