Dylann Storm Roof has been caught just hours after police identified him as the suspect in a Charleston church shooting that left nine people dead, with police picking him up at a traffic stop 200 miles from the city.
Police said that a gunman walked into a black church in Charleston on Wednesday evening and, for one hour, sat through a prayer meeting. Witnesses said he then opened fire, killing nine people.
On Thursday morning, police released pictures of the suspected shooter, and within hours, he was identified as Dylann Storm Roof. Just minutes later police said that Roof was captured.
The following is from Reuters.
“Law enforcement officials in Charleston, South Carolina, were searching on Thursday for a 21-year-old white gunman who killed nine people in a historic African-American church including a black state senator in an attack the U.S. Department of Justice called a hate crime.
The FBI identified the shooter as Dylann Roof of Columbia, South Carolina. An uncle of Roof’s said 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,’ Carson Cowles, 56, told Reuters in a phone interview.”
Police said Dylann Roof was captured at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina.
“I can confirm that there is a subject in custody in relation to the shootings in Charleston from last evening,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said today at a news conference. “And, of course, this moves us into a different phase of the investigation, which will be pursued as vigorously and with as complete cooperation as the apprehension of this individual.”
There was close to an hour between the release of Roof’s name and the announcement that he had been arrested.
“I am so pleased we were able to resolve this case quickly,” Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said at a news conference.
The 21-year-old was captured on surveillance cameras entering Emanuel AME Church late on Wednesday. While police have yet to release much information on the alleged shooter, his Facebook page shows him wearing a jacket with the flag of Rhodesia, an Apartheid-era area of South Africa.
The killings came after months of racially charged protests in Charleston over the killing of black men by police. A North Charlotte man, Walter Scott, was shot in the back by police and killed earlier this year. The officer who shot him, Michael T. Slager, was charged with murder.
Police have not yet announced the charges against Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof.
[Image via Shelby police]