Dylann Storm Roof almost aborted his mission to spark a massacre inside a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, telling investigators that everyone inside was “so nice” to him.
Roof is accused of entering the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday night and sitting through a prayer meeting. After about an hour, he reportedly stood up, telling those in attendance that he had to kill black people because “[y]ou rape our women and are taking over our country.”
Police say Roof opened fire, killing nine people in the church. The 21-year-old Roof reportedly confessed to the murders and told investigators that he almost backed out of the plans.
Here a report from NBC News.
“Roof, 21, has told police that he ‘almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him,’ sources told NBC News.
“And yet he decided he had to ‘go through with his mission.'”
Charleston County Coroner Rae Wilson said Thursday that the people attending the prayer meeting had no suspicion that Dylann Storm Roof would open fire on them.
“The suspect entered the group and was accepted by them, as they believed that he wanted to join them in this Bible study,” she said. Then, “he became very aggressive and violent.”
Officials in South Carolina have called his massacre an act of pure evil.
“This is an absolute hate crime,” Haley said, according to Reuters. “We’ve been talking with the investigators because we’ve been going through the interviews, they said they looked pure evil in the eye.”
In the day since his arrest, a picture has emerged of an angry young man hoping that his act of violence would spark a race war in the United States. Friends of Roof said he was obsessed with the simmering racial tension over killings of Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray.
Friends said Dylann Storm Roof had also made jokes about killing “a bunch of people on Wednesday.” One friend, Joseph Meek, said he even tried to hide Roof’s guns after the 21-year-old went on a drunken rant about segregation and killing people.
“He said he was planning for about six months to do something crazy,” said Meek. “He wanted it to be segregated. He wanted it to be white with the white, black with the black. All the races segregated. He wanted to do something big, like the Trayvon Martin case. He was upset about it. It made him mad.”
Officials in South Carolina said they plan to seek the death penalty against Dylann Storm Roof.
[Image via Shelby police]