CHARLESTON, S.C. — More information is coming out about the man accused of shooting and killing nine people inside a Charleston, South Carolina church.
Police are trying to determine if Dylann Roof, 21, had any links to hate groups.
In an image tweeted by the Berkeley County, South Carolina, government, Roof is wearing a jacket with what appear to be the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that was ruled by a white minority until it became independent in 1980 and changed its name to Zimbabwe.
Authorities released a mug shot of him from Lexington County Thursday. It was taken after a trespassing arrest in April. According to an arrest warrant from a February incident, Roof had an unlabeled pill bottle with a drug believed to be suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction. Roof told police a friend gave him drugs. The status of the cases is unclear.
Roof, of Lexington, South Carolina, was taken into custody without incident about 11:15 a.m. Thursday during a traffic stop, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said.
The slayings took place inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, near the heart of Charleston’s tourist district. Six females and three males were killed, including the church’s politically active pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of Pinckney, said she heard about what happened inside the church from survivors, according to CNN affiliate WIS.
Johnson said survivors recounted the man coming into the church, asking for Pinckney and sitting next to him during a prayer meeting for an hour. He started shooting and reloaded five times, she said.
When a man pleaded with him to stop, the shooter replied, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,” she said.
A law enforcement official says witnesses told authorities the gunman stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people.”