Police Nab Suspected Killer Of Nine In U.S. Church | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Police Nab Suspected Killer Of Nine In U.S. Church

Posted: Jun 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Police say they have caught a white man who walked into a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, United States, and opened fire during a Bible study class, killing nine people Wednesday evening.

The police identified him as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington and promised to give details of his person later.

Police said the gunman sat in a bible study meeting for up to an hour before opening fire, killing six women and three men including the church pastor. Officials have called it a hate crime.

Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said the Justice Department would look at all the facts and motivations to determine the best way to proceed with any prosecution over the shooting.

U.S. media reported that Roof was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina, some 13 hours after the shooting.

It followed the release of surveillance images of what police described as a young white man arriving at the church an hour before the shooting occurred on Wednesday evening.

The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South, has since been dubbed a hate crime.

“The only reason someone would walk into a church and shoot people that were praying is hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

Eight churchgoers died at the scene; a ninth at a hospital, police said. Among them is the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, according to CNN affiliate WCSC.

Officials wouldn’t say how many people were at the Bible study during the shooting. There were survivors, said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, but he didn’t elaborate.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been a presence in Charleston since 1816, when African-American members of Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal Church formed their own congregation after a dispute over burial grounds.

It was burned to the ground at one point, but rebuilt. Throughout its history, it overcame obstacle after obstacle — destroyed by an earthquake, banned by the state. But its church members persevered, making it the largest African-American church in terms of seating space in Charleston today.

The shooting was “obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible,” the mayor said.

“People in prayer Wednesday evening. A ritual, a coming together, praying, worshiping God. An awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable,” Riley said.

Police received the first call around 9:05 p.m. Officers arrived to find several victims inside.

“It’s really bad. It’s a very bad scene,” local pastor, Thomas Dixon said.

Police said the suspect in the shooting is a clean-shaven white man in his early 20s, 5-feet, 9-inches with a slender build and sandy blond hair. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and Timberland boots.

“He obviously is extremely dangerous,” Mullen said.

On Thursday morning, police handed out images of the man and his car taken from surveillance footage and asked for the public’s help in identifying him.