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Dylann Roof, suspected Charleston shooting gunman, previously arrested

Updated

The 21-year-old white gunman who slaughtered nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church was previously jailed in March on a drug charge, NBC affiliate WIS-TV reported.

He is suspected of gunning down nine people at the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night while sitting in on a Bible study class. Three others survived.

He was captured by police Thursday morning, sources said.

RELATED: Disturbing narrative emerges about Charleston church shooting

Police said Roof fled after the shooting just after 9 p.m. ET in a black Hyundai Elantra.

Charleston officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. The Justice Department also announced it is opening a parallel civil rights investigation into the case.

While the manhunt intensified Thursday, Roof’s uncle told Reuters that he recognized the man in the surveillance photo as his nephew.

“The more I look at him, the more I’m convinced that’s him,” said Carson Cowles, 56.

Cowles told Reuters that authorities were at Roof’s home, and that his nephew had been given a .45-caliber handgun from his father for his birthday in April.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Charleston Church Shooting, Dylann Storm Roof, Gun Violence and South Carolina

Dylann Roof, suspected Charleston shooting gunman, previously arrested

Updated