Police Arrest Suspect in Killing of 9 People in Historic AME Church

Police Arrest Suspect in Killing of 9 People in Historic AME Church

Authorities have identified Dylann Roof, a white man, as the suspect in a shooting that killed nine African-Americans in Charleston, S.C., Wednesday evening.

Published June 18, 2015

Police have captured Dylann Roof, a white man who allegedly opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday night, killing nine people, including a pastor, the New York Times reports.

"I can confirm that there is a suspect in custody," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a news conference.

The FBI is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Witnesses say that he told the congregation that he was there "to shoot Black people," according to CNN.

Joseph Meek Jr., a friend of Roof's, told the Associated Press that he had been best friends with him in middle school but lost touch five years ago. The friends reconnected a few weeks ago, he said.

"He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race," Meek said. "He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, 'That's not the way it should be.' But he kept talking about it."

Roof's record includes trespassing on private property and drug possession. In a Facebook picture, he is seen wearing "the emblem of white-ruled Rhodesia, the African country that became Zimbabwe in 1980," according to the Associated Press.

Emanuel A.M.E. is one of the oldest Black churches in the South, and the building is considered a historic site by the National Park Service.

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(Photos from top: Lexington County Detention Center, Charleston Police Department via AP)

Written by BET-Staff

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