Police have captured the suspect in a shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina church in which 9 died, including the church’s pastor.
Wednesday night, a gunmen entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed 9 people, including the church’s pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney. Rev. Pinckney answered his call to preach at a young age and even served as a member of South Carolina’s House of Representatives for several years. In addition to the reverend, 2 other males and 6 females lost their lives in the shooting. The Emanuel AME Church has a history that extends back to the late 1700’s and reflects much of African American religious history in Charleston, South Carolina.
This morning, the police caught suspect Dylann Storm Roof. Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen held a news conference in which he told the public about Roof’s arrest. The police received a tip regarding a suspicious vehicle in North Carolina and were able to pick Roof up after an incident free traffic stop. A man claiming to be Roof’s uncle said he gave the shooting suspect a handgun for his birthday despite the young man seeming “adrift.”
While there have been some speculations raised by some in the media as to how much religion played a part in Roof’s motivations for this crime, witnesses to the shooting claim he cried that he was there “to shoot black people”. As a result of the investigations, it is likely that his actions will be considered a hate-crime on top of the other likely charges. According to multiple accounts, one woman was apparently spared by Roof to recount to others what happened during the Charleston shooting.
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Members of the church were gathered for a bible study meeting when Roof came in and asked for Rev. Pinckney . By the end of the meeting, the shooter opened fire on the group. According to witness reports, Roof shouted at the church members, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”