CHARLESTON, S.C. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Law enforcement officials familiar with the Charleston shooting have said Dylann Roof has confessed to authorities to shooting and killing nine people Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
One officer said Roof, a 21-year-old white man, told investigators he wanted to start a race war.
One of the survivors of Wednesday’s shooting told authorities Roof was there “to kill black people,” and that Roof said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
Officials also said he bought the .45-caliber handgun used in the shooting in April. Sources told NBC News on Friday that Roof admitted he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone (at the church) was so nice to him,” but he had to “go through with his mission.”
Roof, who was on the lam for approximately 14 hours after the killings at Emanuel AME Church, was apprehended late Thursday morning in Shelby, North Carolina, and was extradited back to Charleston.
Charleston Police stated Roof will have his first hearing Friday afternoon and will be charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. According to ABC News, South Carolina law says he will not be allowed out on bond.
It has yet to be established whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Roof, which is legal in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley on Friday said she believes Roof should face the death penalty.
“This is an absolute hate crime,” Haley said during an interview with the “Today” show. “And when I’ve been talking with investigators as we’ve been going through the interviews, they said they looked pure evil in the eye yesterday. Without question, this is hate.”
Haley continued: “We absolutely will want him to have the death penalty. This is the worst hate that I’ve seen and that the country has seen in a long time.”
Roof currently is in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston. Due to the high-profile nature of the crime, Roof will not have contact with the general jail population. Also, due to the nature of the crime and past comments made to other people, Roof has been placed on suicide watch.