ShareThis Page

Suspect in S.C. church rampage taken into custody

| Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 11:45 p.m.
Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, into the courthouse in Shelby, N.C., on June 18, 2015. Roof, a 21-year-old with a criminal record, is accused of killing nine people at a Bible-study meeting in a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime.
REUTERS
Police lead suspected shooter Dylann Roof, 21, into the courthouse in Shelby, N.C., on June 18, 2015. Roof, a 21-year-old with a criminal record, is accused of killing nine people at a Bible-study meeting in a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in an attack U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime.
Nine-year-old Liam Eller (L), helps a police officer move flowers left behind outside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after the street was re-opened a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic church was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
REUTERS
Nine-year-old Liam Eller (L), helps a police officer move flowers left behind outside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after the street was re-opened a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic church was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Dylann Roof is pictured in this undated photo taken from his Facebook account. Roof is suspected of fatally shooting nine people at a historically black South Carolina church in Charleston on June 18, 2015. He can be seen in his Facebook profile picture in a jacket that bears the flags of apartheid-era South Africa (top) and the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
Facebook account of Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof is pictured in this undated photo taken from his Facebook account. Roof is suspected of fatally shooting nine people at a historically black South Carolina church in Charleston on June 18, 2015. He can be seen in his Facebook profile picture in a jacket that bears the flags of apartheid-era South Africa (top) and the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
In this image taken from video and released by WBTV, police stand near the vehicle that was driven by Dylann Storm Roof, Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Shelby, N.C. Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of nine people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.
In this image taken from video and released by WBTV, police stand near the vehicle that was driven by Dylann Storm Roof, Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Shelby, N.C. Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of nine people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston.
This security camera footage handout grab released by the Charleston (South Carolina) Police Department on June 18, 2015,  and obtained on the city of Charleston FaceBook page shows the man suspected of killing nine people in a shooting at a historic black church.
AFP/Getty Images
This security camera footage handout grab released by the Charleston (South Carolina) Police Department on June 18, 2015, and obtained on the city of Charleston FaceBook page shows the man suspected of killing nine people in a shooting at a historic black church.
Parishioners applaud during a memorial service at Morris Brown AME Church for the people killed Wednesday during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Police arrested 21-year-old suspect Dylann Storm Roof Thursday in Shelby, N.C. without resistance.
Parishioners applaud during a memorial service at Morris Brown AME Church for the people killed Wednesday during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Police arrested 21-year-old suspect Dylann Storm Roof Thursday in Shelby, N.C. without resistance.
Mourners gather outside Morris Brown AME Church for a vigil the day after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
REUTERS
Mourners gather outside Morris Brown AME Church for a vigil the day after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
The steeple of Emanuel AME Church rises above the street as a police officer tells a car to move as the area is closed off following Wednesday's shooting, Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.
The steeple of Emanuel AME Church rises above the street as a police officer tells a car to move as the area is closed off following Wednesday's shooting, Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.
People visit a makeshift memorial near the Emanuel AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the  Church on the evening of June 17, 2015.  US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime.
AFP/Getty Images
People visit a makeshift memorial near the Emanuel AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the Church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime.
People view flowers on a road leading to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church the morning after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
REUTERS
People view flowers on a road leading to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church the morning after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Noah Nicolaisen, of Charleston, S.C., kneels at a makeshift memorial down the street from where a white man opened fire Wednesday night during a prayer meeting inside the Emanuel AME Church killing several people in Charleston, Thursday, June 18, 2015.
Noah Nicolaisen, of Charleston, S.C., kneels at a makeshift memorial down the street from where a white man opened fire Wednesday night during a prayer meeting inside the Emanuel AME Church killing several people in Charleston, Thursday, June 18, 2015.
A group of local pastors and church goers pray together for the victims of Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Spartanburg.   Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church in downtown Charleston.
A group of local pastors and church goers pray together for the victims of Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Spartanburg. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church in downtown Charleston.
Keith McDaniel, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, is surrounded by others in prayer for the victims of Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Spartanburg.   Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church in downtown Charleston.
Keith McDaniel, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, is surrounded by others in prayer for the victims of Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Spartanburg. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor, at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church in downtown Charleston.
In this June 3, 2014 photo, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney speaks at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Pinckney was killed, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in a shooting at an historic black church in Charleston, S.C.
In this June 3, 2014 photo, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney speaks at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Pinckney was killed, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in a shooting at an historic black church in Charleston, S.C.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, gets emtional as he sits next to the draped desk of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Thursday, June 18, 2015, at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.  Pinckney was one of those killed Wednesday night in a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, gets emtional as he sits next to the draped desk of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Thursday, June 18, 2015, at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. Pinckney was one of those killed Wednesday night in a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while delivering remarks in reaction to the shooting deaths of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, from the podium in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington June 18, 2015.
REUTERS
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while delivering remarks in reaction to the shooting deaths of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, from the podium in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington June 18, 2015.
U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) (L) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) participate with other members of Congress in a prayer circle honoring SC shooting victims outside U.S. Capitol in Washington June 18, 2015.
REUTERS
U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) (L) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) participate with other members of Congress in a prayer circle honoring SC shooting victims outside U.S. Capitol in Washington June 18, 2015.
A man kneels across the street from where police gather outside the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
A man kneels across the street from where police gather outside the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
In this image taken from video on Thursday, June 18, 2015, Martha Watson, left, and Tarsha Moseley embrace at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside the historic black church Wednesday night, killing several people. The shooter remained at large Thursday morning.
In this image taken from video on Thursday, June 18, 2015, Martha Watson, left, and Tarsha Moseley embrace at a makeshift memorial near Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. A white man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside the historic black church Wednesday night, killing several people. The shooter remained at large Thursday morning.
A man looks on as a group of people arrive inquiring about a shooting across the street Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
A man looks on as a group of people arrive inquiring about a shooting across the street Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the scene of a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the scene of a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Worshippers gather to pray in a hotel parking lot across the street from the scene of a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Worshippers gather to pray in a hotel parking lot across the street from the scene of a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Police stand outside the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Police stand outside the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
Mourners gather to pay their respects outside Morris Brown AME Church during a vigil the day after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
REUTERS
Mourners gather to pay their respects outside Morris Brown AME Church during a vigil the day after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman accused of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested on Thursday, said U.S. officials, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white man who joined a prayer meeting inside a historic black church and then fatally shot nine people was captured without resistance Thursday after an all-night manhunt, Charleston's police chief said.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, spent nearly an hour inside the church Wednesday night before killing six women and three men, including the pastor, Chief Greg Mullen said. A citizen spotted his car in Shelby, North Carolina, nearly four hours away.

The chief wouldn't discuss a motive. Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. called it “pure, pure concentrated evil.” Stunned community leaders and politicians condemned the attack on The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department has begun a hate crime investigation.

President Barack Obama, who personally knew the slain pastor, state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, said these shootings have to stop.

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Obama said.

Pinckney, 41, was a married father of two who spent 19 years in the South Carolina legislature. He became the youngest member of the House when he was first elected as a Democrat at 23.

“He had a core not many of us have,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who sat beside Pinckney in the Senate. “I think of the irony that the most gentle of the 46 of us - the best of the 46 of us in this chamber - is the one who lost his life.”

The other victims were identified as Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; and DePayne Doctor.

Sanders had recently graduated from Allen University. Hurd worked for Charleston County's library system for 31 years. Doctor was an enrollment counselor at Southern Wesleyan University's Charleston Campus, according to a friend.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said autopsies would be conducted over the next several days and did not have specific information on how many times the victims were shot or the locations of their injuries.

Roof's childhood friend, Joey Meek, alerted the FBI after recognizing him in a surveillance camera image, said Meek's mother, Kimberly Konzny. Roof had worn the same sweatshirt while playing Xbox videogames in their home recently.

“I don't know what was going through his head,” Konzny said. “He was a really sweet kid. He was quiet. He only had a few friends.”

Roof had been to jail: State court records show a pending felony drug case and a past misdemeanor trespassing charge.

He also displayed the flags of defeated white-ruled regimes: a Confederate flag was on his license plate, Konzny said, and a photo on his Facebook page shows him wearing a jacket with stitched-on flag patches from Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa.

Roof wasn't known to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., and it's not clear whether he had any connection to the 16 white supremacist organizations operating in South Carolina, but he appears to be a “disaffected white supremacist,” based on his Facebook page, said the center's president, Richard Cohen.

The shooting evoked painful memories of other attacks. Black churches were bombed in the 1960s when they served as organizing hubs for the Civil Rights movement, and burned by arsons across the South in the 1990s. Others survived shooting sprees.

This particular congregation, which formed in 1816, has its own grim history: A founder, Denmark Vesey, was hanged after trying to organize a slave revolt in 1822, and white landowners burned the church in revenge, leaving parishioners to worship underground until after the Civil War.

This shooting “should be a warning to us all that we do have a problem in our society,” said state Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Democrat whose district includes the church. “There's a race problem in our country. There's a gun problem in our country. We need to act on them quickly.”

“Of all cities, in Charleston, to have a horrible hateful person go into the church and kill people there to pray and worship with each other is something that is beyond any comprehension and is not explained,” Riley said. “We are going to put our arms around that church and that church family.”

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said “there is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people.”

A few bouquets of flowers tied to a police barricade outside the church formed a small but growing memorial.

“Today I feel like it's 9-11 again,” Bob Dyer, who works in the area, said after leaving an arrangement of yellow flowers wrapped in plastic. “I'm in shock.”

The attack came two months after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, by a white police officer in neighboring North Charleston, which increased racial tensions. The officer awaits trial for murder, and the shooting prompted South Carolina to pass a law, co-sponsored by Pinckney, to equip police statewide with body cameras.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.