On Wednesday (June 17) nine people were shot and killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in what officials are calling a hate crime. The white man, who FBI sources later identified as Dylann Roof, who’s reportedly in his early 20’s, entered the historic church and sat with the twelve churchgoers who were attending the church’s weekly Wednesday Bible study. He spent an hour in prayer before opening fire, according to a statement made by the Charleston police chief Greg Mullen on Thursday morning. A list of victims included the pastor/state senator Rev. Clementa Pickney. Information regarding the three survivors is still under development.
According to officials, the suspect escaped into the city’s downtown and is still at large. Police chief Mullen stated, “This is a very dangerous individual. He should not be approached by anyone. Call law enforcement if you recognize the individual or the car so we can take appropriate action.” The suspect is said to be wearing a gray sweatshirt with distinctive markings, blue jeans, and Timberland boots. He appears to stand at 5 feet, 9 inches with a slender build and sandy blonde hair. According to police, he may be driving a black Hyundai with vehicle tag LGF330.
The Charleston County School District is on precautionary lockdown today as the search for Roof continues.
UPDATE: The suspect, Dylann Roof, has been arrested in Shelby, North Carolina. He was captured after a resident alerted the police to a suspicious vehicle, according to the New York Times. Police Chief Mullen said Roof did not resist his arrest.