Suspect in Emanuel AME Church slayings returned to Charleston


    A man accused of killing nine people during a Bible study inside a historic church Wednesday night was flown back to Charleston Thursday, hours after he was arrested during a traffic stop in North Carolina.

    Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said a citizen saw suspicious activity and called authorities Thursday morning after authorities released surveillance photos taken from near the church. He said Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington County was pulled over by Shelby Police and was cooperative with the arresting officer.Roof waived extradition during an afternoon hearing and was booked into the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center Thursday night pending a 2 p.m. bond hearing.

    He will immediately be placed on suicide watch, according to sheriff's officials.

    Solicitor Scarlett Wilson confirmed Roof is charged with one charge of murder so far with more to come. The one charge was all that was needed for the extradition to be processed.

    Mullen said the shooter sat inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 110 Calhoun Street for about an hour before he stood up about 9:05 p.m. and started shooting. Eight people died inside the church and a ninth died at the hospital. Six of the victims were female and three were male, he said.Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten identified the nine victims Thursday.

    They are:Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41. Pinckney was the pastor of the church and a South Carolina state senator. Cynthia Hurd, 54. Hurd was the branch manager for St. Andrews Regional Library. Susie Jackson, 87.Ethel Lance, 70.Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49. She was the admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University's Charleston Learning Center.Tywanza Sanders, 26.Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74.Sharonda Singleton, 45.Myra Thompson, 59.

    Family members who were briefed by chaplains at a nearby hotel told ABC News that a 5-year-old child was in the church at the time of the shooting and survived by playing dead.

    "This tragedy that we're addressing right now is indescribable," Mullen said. "No one in this community will ever forget this night."

    According to Lexington County court records, Roof was arrested back in March for drug possession.

    Joey Meek, a childhood friend of Roof's, told the Associated Press he alerted the FBI after he and his mother instantly recognized Roof in the photos released by police.

    Dalton Tyler, who told ABC News that he has known Roof for seven months to one year, said he saw the white, 21-year-old suspect just last week.

    "He was big into segregation and other stuff," Tyler told ABC News. "He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself."

    The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI are opening a hate crime investigation into the shooting. Mullen called it a hate crime.

    "This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience," Mullen said. "It's senseless and unfathomable that someone would go into a church where people were having a prayer meeting and take their lives."

    President Barack Obama addressed the church shooting on Thursday. He said Wednesday night's shooting inside a historic black church shows the need for a national reckoning on gun violence in America.

    The president said that too often, he's had to come to microphone to mourn the deaths of innocents killed by those who had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

    "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Obama said.

    The shootings set off a massive manhunt downtown for the suspect. The FBI, State Law Enforcement Division, the coroner's office and multiple police agencies were all on scene as a helicopter circled downtown. Mullen said they received help from agencies up and down the East Coast, including the FBI.

    At one point reporters were pushed back further from the scene because of a reported bomb threat. A second bomb threat was called in about 2 p.m. Thursday but authorities gave the all clear in about 20 minutes.

    Members of the Emanuel AME Church prayed in a parking lot near the scene of the shooting. The church is the oldest AME Church in the South and has one of the oldest black congregations in the South.

    "The only reason someone could walk into the church and shoot people praying is out of hate," Mayor Joe Riley said. "The only reason. It is the most dastardly act that I could possibly imagine. And we will bring that person to justice as soon as possible."

    South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said President Obama called to "convey his condolences to Senator Pinckney's family, congregation, and the people of Charleston."

    Gov. Nikki Haley released the following statement:

    "Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers."

    Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster had this to say:

    "Senator Clementa Pinckney embodied the greatness and virtue of South Carolina. He was among the finest of men. He touched many lives. We pray that the families, loved ones, and friends of all the victims of this senseless tragedy find some peace in knowing that the entire state grieves with them."

    Elder James Johnson said Sharpton is planning to arrive in Charleston Thursday. Sharpton was in the Lowcountry earlier this year after Walter Scott was shot to death by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. Sharpton pointed out that Pinckney led his prayer vigil for Scott.

    U.S. Sen. Tim Scott released this statement Thursday afternoon upon arriving in Charleston:

    "The horror that occurred at Mother Emanuel last night has truly devastated our community. Emanuel AME means so much to so many, and we stand by them today as they mourn the loss of their leader and brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Pinckney was a good man, an honest man and a wonderful representative for his congregation."

    As reports come to light that a suspect is held in custody, I hope for swift justice for Pastor Pinckney's congregation and the people of Charleston.

    "Today's prayer circle at Morris Brown AME Church will help our community begin to come to terms with what has happened, and start the healing process. While we unfortunately know that hate enters some people's hearts, I also know this: we can and will work every single day to replace hate with love, pain with kindness, and hostility with good will."

    Senator Lindsey Graham released the following statement:

    "Our prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Charleston. We are all heartbroken by this tragedy. To the families of the victims, please know that you are being prayed for and loved by so many in the community and across the nation. I pray that God will provide you healing in the coming days. There are bad people in this world who are motivated by hate. Every decent person has been victimized by the hateful, callous disregard for human life shown by the individual who perpetrated these horrible acts. Our sense of security and well-being has been robbed and shaken."

    Representative James E. "Jim" Clyburn released the following statement:

    "It is with great sadness that I heard of the unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Charleston last night. My heart goes out to the victims, including State Senator Clementa Pinckney, their friends and family and members of Emanuel AME Church. I am distraught that this kind of hate still exists in our country and specifically in my home state of South Carolina. I'm reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." We must take these horrific crimes that are happening across our states and teach our neighbors that hate is not the answer. Please pray with me today for the Charleston community as they begin the healing process."

    Representative Mark Sanford released the following:

    "I join with the people of Charleston and the Lowcountry of South Carolina in sending both thoughts and prayers to the families affected in the tragedy of Wednesday night. I don't understand and can't comprehend this sort of malice. Accordingly, I simply pray that God's faith, that I know to be so strong at the Emanuel Church, will be part of what gets both their congregation and our community through this horrendous action."

    From College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell:

    "Charleston experienced one of the worst moments in its history last night with the shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Calhoun Street. Our entire campus community sends its thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones affected by this senseless and unthinkable tragedy. Of course, we are all reeling in shock right now, and it is only natural to concentrate on the heinous crime and its disturbed perpetrator. However, I encourage everyone to take a moment and remember the innocent men and women who were killed. By celebrating who they were as people of faith and what they stood for, we do more to honor their memories and their lives. And right now, I want to do just that. Last night, we lost one of our state's brightest young lawmakers and spiritual leaders: Reverend Clementa Pinckney. I had the honor of serving side by side with him for many years in the State Senate. Reverend Pinckney was a remarkable man and a consistent voice of compassion and reason in the State House. His leadership moved our state forward in a variety of areas, from education and medical affairs, to his most recent work on body cameras for the police force. He will forever serve as a source of pride and inspiration for all South Carolinians.As I am sure Reverend Pinckney would have counseled in this dark moment, the violent act of one must not define us. Rather, we must let the world see how we can and will come together and support one another in our most difficult times. That is the true measure of the people of Charleston. That is our most powerful witness in the face of evil. And together, we stand unified and unbroken."T

    he NAACP also released a statement:

    "The NAACP was founded to fight against racial hatred and we are outraged that 106 years later, we are faced today with another mass hate crime. Our heartfelt prayers and soul-deep condolences go out to the families and community of the victims at Charleston's historic Emanuel AME Church. The senselessly slain parishioners were in a church for Wednesday night bible study. There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture. Today I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP."

    Statements came pouring in from all over the country, including from Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly.

    "Once again, a senseless act of gun violence has brought terror, tragedy and pain to one of our communities. And once again, gunfire and bloodshed has visited one of America's houses of worship. This time, a shooting has shattered the community at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, whose congregants have stood so often on the side of the needy and of peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and the families of those who were taken in this tragedy."

    Check back as more details become available.

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