Thursday, June 18, 2015

Man Who Shot, Killed 9 People at Historic Church in Charleston Arrested

The gunman wanted in the killing of nine people at a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina was taken into custody Thursday morning in North Carolina.
Charleston’s police chief, Greg Mullen, said the suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, had been caught about 200 miles away, in Shelby, N.C., a town west of Charlotte. His arrest came about 14 hours after the shooting. The police here have said Mr. Roof, who is from the Columbia, S.C., area, is the white gunman who walked into a prayer meeting, sat down with black parishioners for nearly an hour, and then opened fire — a burst of violence that officials described as racially motivated. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the F.B.I., and the United States Attorney’s Office for South Carolina opened a hate crime investigation into the shooting, parallel to the state and local investigation, a department official said. Chief Mullen called the shooting, which left six women and three men dead, a hate crime. Chief Mullen said that Mr. Roof was located after a resident alerted police to a suspicious vehicle. Mr. Roof did not offer any resistance, the police chief said. Mr. Roof’s Facebook profile picture shows him wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of two former white supremacist regimes, in apartheid-era South Africa and in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The gunman walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after 8 p.m., and the first call to police came shortly after 9 p.m. Among the dead was the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, pastor of the church, who was also a state senator. Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Mr. Pinckney, told NBC News that she had spoken with a survivor of the shooting who told her the gunman reloaded five times. The survivor, she said, told her that the gunman had entered the church and asked for the pastor. Then he sat next to Mr. Pinckney during the Bible study before opening fire. “I have to do it,” the gunman was quoted as saying. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Calling the shooting the work of “a hateful and deranged mind,” Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said it was hard to imagine churchgoers at “a prayer service and a Bible service, and they’re speaking about the Holy Scriptures and praying,” while someone is “sitting there contemplating the act of murder.” Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. One person died on the way to the Medical University of South Carolina.

source: NY Times
Reuters reported that Dylann's uncle, Carson Cowles, said he recognized his nephew from photos released by police. Carson said his nephew received a .45-calibre pistol from his father as a birthday present in April. Court documents show Dylann was arrested on February 28 and April 26 and charged on drug and trespassing charges. He was currently out on bond.
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