Disturbing details emerge about the South Carolina shooter, including a fondness for apartheid-era flags

The flags on Roof’s jacket are of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia.
The flags on Roof’s jacket are of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia.
Image: Facebook
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This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.

Dylann Storm Roof, the lead suspect in the murder of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday night, has been apprehended by police in North Carolina, according to local news reports.

Authorities had been pursuing Roof, a 21-year-old white man of small build and a blonde bowl haircut, who was seen driving away from the scene in a black sedan. Police chief Greg Mullen said he was apprehended in a traffic following a citizen tip. 

The FBI and US Department of Justice civil rights division are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. It occurred during a bible group meeting in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church.

On his Facebook page, a glowering Roof is wearing a jacket emblazoned with two flags: one of apartheid-era South Africa and the other of the white-ruled state of Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. Roof is from the Columbia area in South Carolina and was arrested in March on drug charges.

The victims were three men and six women, including the church’s pastor. According to Sylvia Johnson, the pastor’s cousin who spoke to the survivors, Roof reloaded five times and said “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

The gun Roof used in the shooting, a .45-caliber pistol, was a 21st birthday gift from his father, Roof’s uncle told Reuters. 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained a reference to Roof’s Facebook friends, but as several people noted on Twitter, his social network connections are not necessarily relevant to what occurred.