Mass shooting leaves nine dead in South Carolina historic black church, shooter finally apprehended
Nine people have been killed in a mass shooting Wednesday night at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina police say. The shooter, reportedly indentified as 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof of Lexington County, was arrested at about 11:15am this morning roughly 245 miles away from the shooting in Shelby, North Carolina ending the manhunt that began last night. Dylann attended a meeting at the church last night and stayed for almost an hour before firing on the members at around 9:30 pm. Eight people died on site at the Emmanuel AME Church, and another person died later at the hospital, according to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.
The suspect was identified by his uncle, who recognized his nephew on the surveillence photos. Roof is currently out on bond after being arrested on drug charges in March, and according to his uncle, recently recieved a gun for his 21st birthday.
The cousin of Pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was one of the nine shot and killed, told NBC News that the gunman reloaded five times and told a victim "I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go." Rev. Pinckney was also reportedly a state senator.
"I do believe this was a hate crime," Mullen told reporters last night. "We are tracking the suspect with K-9s, trying to ensure the suspect was not in the area to commit other crimes. We then received information that there might be a secondary explosive device on the scene. We were focused on ensuring the safety of not only responders at the scene, but all of you and members of the public."
Anyone with information about this incident call 1-800-CALL-FBI. pic.twitter.com/EidJGhNEDp— City of Charleston (@CityCharleston) June 18, 2015
The victims have not been identified, but the church is known as a historic African-American church established in 1816. The church was burned to the ground in 1822 after founder Denmark Vasey tried to organize a slave revolt. Until after the Civil War, parishioners worshiped underground.