Gunman Kills 9 at Historic South Carolina Church; Manhunt Underway [UPDATED]
UPDATE 10:45 a.m. EST: The F.B.I. has confirmed that the shooting suspect’s name is Dylann Roof. A resident of the Columbia area, Roof has been arrested and jailed twice, according the the Post and Courier, on “March 1 in Lexington County on a drug charge and again on April 26 on a trespassing charge.”
In the photo released (above), Roof appears to be wearing a patch with an Apartheid-era South African flag, perhaps adding further evidence that his actions were racially motivated.
Roof may be driving a 2000 Hyundai Elantra with the license plate number LGF330. If you spot it, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Police have also arrived at Roof’s home, though no further information is yet available:
— Cynthia Roldan (@CynthiaRoldan) June 18, 2015
Original story starts here:
Authorities are searching for a man who entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night and killed nine people before fleeing. Among the dead are six women and three men, including the church’s pastor, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.
The gunman is believed to be white, and his victims all black. The Charleston police chief, Greg Mullen, labeled it a hate crime. The shooter, a 21-year-old male with sandy blond hair, entered the church around 9 p.m. and sat with the church members as they prayed for an hour before opening fire.
“This is a situation that is unacceptable in any society and especially in our society and our city,” Chief Mullen said.
Law enforcement from multiple agencies are cooperating in the search for the killer, including the F.B.I., the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and more. Police say the suspect is approximately 5-foot-9-inches tall, wearing a sweatshirt with distinctive markings and Timberland boots.
The church, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal, is a historic institution, was founded in 1816, making it the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore. One of the founders was a freed slave named Denmark Vesey, who was later executed for organizing a revolt. Members often had to meet in secret, until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
An image from the church’s surveillance camera, prior to the shooting:
This post will be updated as additional information comes in.