CNN reports, the white man who killed nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, told his victims he was there “to shoot black people,” a law enforcement official said Thursday, citing witnesses to the shooting.
The suspect, identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, was still at large on Thursday as law enforcement officers searched the region. The man spent an hour in a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night before he opened fire, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning.
A law enforcement official says witnesses told them the suspect stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people.” The shooter is also believed to have used a handgun, according to the official.
Police were searching for information about Roof. A picture of him on social media showed him wearing a jacket with what appear to be the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that was ruled by a white minority until it became independent in 1980 and changed its name to Zimbabwe.
Six females and three males were killed, Mullen said. Three people survived, including a woman who received a chilling message from the shooter.
“Her life was spared, and (she was) told, I’m not going to kill you, I’m going to spare you, so you can tell them what happened,” Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott told CNN. Scott said she heard this from the victims’ family members.
Our hearts and prayers go out to
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