A white man entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, sitting with the weekly prayer group in the historically black church for an hour. As the study concluded, he opened fire, killing eight people at the scene. A ninth person died on the way to the hospital.
Here’s what we know so far about the suspect, the victims, and the investigation:
The suspect’s name is Dylann Storm Roof. He is a 21-year-old white man. It’s unclear what kind of gun was used, but police sources say he had a lot of ammunition and intended to do a lot of damage. He fled in a black, four-door sedan Hyundai.
He was captured in Shelby, North Carolina. Police apprehended him on Thursday morning, according to government sources.
Roof waived his right to an attorney. In his first court appearance later Thursday, the suspected shooter waived his right to counsel and said he would not fight extradition to South Carolina, according to an employee of the local Cleveland County Clerk’s office.
Authorities believe this is a hate crime. The Department of Justice is investigating the church massacre as a hate crime, and Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said the same.
There are nine known victims. The six women and three men who died in the shooting include the pastor at the historic black church, Rev. Clementa Pinckney. He was also a longtime Democratic state senator in South Carolina. Six women and three men were killed, police said. It’s unclear how many are injured our wounded.
It appears to be racially motivated. A woman claiming to be Pinckney’s cousin said she spoke with a survivor who said that the shooter “reloaded five different times … and he just said, ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.’”
Police orchestrated a massive manhunt to find him. Local, state, and federal authorities worked together in the search to find him and will continue to cooperate in the investigation. The Justice Department will open a parallel civil rights investigation soon and will assist state investigators and prosecutors.