Newly released police affidavits detail the horrific crimes perpetrated by Dylann Storm Roof – the white, 21-year-old who admitted to killing nine African-Americans at Charleston’s historic “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church late Wednesday.
At a bond hearing on Friday, several of the victims’ family members addressed Roof, whose image was fed into the courtroom through a live video.
“You hurt me and hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you,” said Nadine Collier, daughter of victim Ethel Lance, through tears.
Some may find Collier’s forgiveness difficult to understand, especially in light of the information provided by the police. Below are five of the most chilling details found in their affidavits.
1. On that fateful night, Roof attended the church’s weekly Bible study for about an hour before opening fire. Under the law, the least offensive killings occur “in the heat of passion.” They are spontaneous and usually provoked. Here, we have the exact opposite scenario. The would-be killer had the chance to retreat from his mission. Instead, he carried it out after becoming acquainted with his victims, whom he killed one by one in cold blood.
2. All nine victims were shot multiple times, and all nine died as a result of their injuries. It wasn’t enough for Roof to hurt or severely injure the peaceful church-goers. Rather, he kept shooting, as if to ensure that his bullets would end their lives altogether.
3. Prior to leaving the Bible study room, Roof stood over a witness and uttered a racially inflammatory statement. While the police affidavits do not elaborate on what Roof said or to whom, the fact of what the police call “a racially inflammatory statement” may be the strongest evidence as to Roof’s motive for the massacre.
State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., 74; Susie Jackson, 87; DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49 and Ethel Lance, 70.4. Roof’s father and uncle contacted the Charleston Police Department and identified him as the perpetrator. Unlike so many criminals whose identities remain unknown or uncertain, all evidence – including his family’s voluntary identification – indicates Roof’s guilt. Additionally, Roof confessed to killing all nine victims, who include beloved
5. Roof’s father told investigators that his son owned a .45 caliber handgun; .45 caliber casings were recovered from the crime scene. Could Roof’s father have stopped his son from carrying out Wednesday’s killing spree? That remains unclear. But Roof’s father did know his son possessed the weapon he used to commit what many are calling an act of terrorism.