In the wake of the Charleston church shooting that claimed nine lives, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had tough words for confessed gunman Dylann Roof when asked if he should get the death penalty during an interview on Today Friday morning.
“Without question, yes… These are nine families that are struggling. This is a state that is hurt by the fact that nine people innocently were killed. We will absolutely want him to have the death penalty. This is the worst hate that I have seen and this country has seen in a long time.”
Dylann Roof was arrested yesterday for the Wednesday night shooting at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that killed nine members of a Bible study group, including the church’s minister. The 21-year-old has confessed to the crimes to police since his arrest, claiming he wanted to start a race war. Gov. Nikki Haley served in the state legislature with one of the nine victims, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, so the tragedy struck her on a more personal level in addition to serving in her role as governor.
“I had to have a conversation with my son yesterday, to try to explain why this happened. And it’s just hard to explain. I mean… this is the Holy City, Charleston is named the Holy City. We were named the friendliest state in the country. This doesn’t happen here — that’s kind of the tone. This wasn’t expected and we’re devastated.”
Gov. Nikki Haley also wanted to emphasize that these were the actions of one individual and not representative of the state or the people of South Carolina, despite some calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse. Haley also told Today that as a supporter of the Second Amendment, she cautioned against blaming guns or anyone else for the crime except Dylann Roof and the hate that seems to be the driving force behind his actions.
“This is an absolute hate crime. When we have been talking with investigators as we are going through the interviews, they said they looked pure evil in the eye yesterday. Without question this is hate.
“There is one person to blame here. A person filled with hate, a person that does not define South Carolina, and we are going to focus on that one person… [But] that one person does not define us.”
Ironically, as previously reported in the Inquisitr, Dylann Roof stated he almost didn’t go through with the planned shooting because everyone in the Bible study group had been so nice to him.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]