• Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof has been taken into custody in North Carolina, a senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told CNN’s Deborah Feyerick.
• Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, is the suspect in Wednesday’s deadly shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, city police said Thursday.
• Witnesses say the suspect stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people,” a law enforcement official said. The shooter is also thought to have used a handgun, according to the official.
They got him.
The man suspected of killing nine people Wednesday night at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested Thursday morning about three hours away near Shelby, North Carolina, law enforcement authorities said.
Investigators identified the suspect as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina.
The man spent an hour in a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night before he opened fire, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning.
A law enforcement official says witnesses told them the suspect stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people.”
Police were searching for information about Roof. A picture of him on social media showed him wearing a jacket with what appear to be the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that was ruled by a white minority until it became independent in 1980 and changed its name to Zimbabwe.
Six females and three males were killed, Mullen said. Three people survived, including a woman who received a chilling message from the shooter.
“Her life was spared, and (she was) told, I’m not going to kill you, I’m going to spare you, so you can tell them what happened,” Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott told CNN. Scott said she heard this from the victims’ family members.
Federal authorities have opened a hate crime investigation into the shooting at the oldest AME church in the South, the Department of Justice said.
“The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.
Among the victims was the church’s politically active pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, his cousin, South Carolina state Sen. Kent Williams, told CNN.
Pinckney was also a state senator and one of the black community’s spokesmen after the slaying of an unarmed man by a North Charleston police officer earlier this year.
There were 13 people inside the church when the shooting happened — the shooter, the nine people who were killed and three survivors, South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, who was briefed by law enforcement, told CNN. Two of the survivors were not harmed, he said.
It was not clear if the man targeted any individual.
“We don’t know if anybody was targeted other than the church itself,” Mullen said.
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