- Category: U.S.
- Published on Sunday, 21 June 2015 10:03
- Written by Amelia Noble, Christian Press
The South Carolina shooting suspect Dylan Roof has been arrested in Shelby, North Carolina.
21-year-old Roof was arrested during a traffic stop, Charleston’s Police Chief Greg Mullen said.
Roof allegedly killed nine African American churchgoers in the historic Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. Police immediately branded the shooting spree, which began just after 9 p.m. on Wednesday, a hate crime, and released surveillance images of a white man fleeing the scene.
Roof left six women and three men dead.
A five-year-old girl survived the attack by following her grandmothers instructions to “play dead”, and a woman was allowed to leave on the condition that she told people what happened. It was not immediately known what message she was supposed to convey.
Charleston’s Police Chief, Greg Mullen, said Roof entered the church and sat in a pew for an hour, before opening fire at 9:06 p.m.
“This is a tragedy that no community should have to experience. It is senseless and unfathomable that today’s society that someone would walk into a church during a prayer meeting and take their lives,” said Mullen.
Among the dead was the church’s pastor, Sen. Clementa Pinckey, who had been a pastor since he was 18. He died at 41. Pinckney was the youngest African-American elected to the South Carolina legislature when he won office at the age of 23. The other victims were not identified.
“There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture,” NAACP President Cornell Brooks said in a statement. “Today I mourn as an AME minister, as a student and teacher of scripture, as well as a member of the NAACP.”
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley issued a statement saying, “While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we’ll never understand what motivated 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.”
Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. tells USA Headline News she is concerned about what might happen following the shooting.
“I’m asking everyone to please remember the families and you cannot serve these families or those who have been killed by rioting,” said King.