Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspect in the shooting of nine people Wednesday evening at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., had been planning the shooting for months, friends say.
But he almost didn’t go through with the “mission” at the last minute, reports NBC News, because he said “everyone was so nice to him.”
Roof, from Lexington, S.C., was arrested Thursday in North Carolina, and is currently being held at a detention center in South Carolina. He will appear at a 2 p.m. bond hearing through closed-circuit television.
After spending about an hour in a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Roof, a white man, opened fire, killing nine and injuring several others. He then fled and NBC reports Roof was captured in Shelby, N.C., Thursday morning. He waived extradition and was immediately taken back to South Carolina.
According to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, the nine victims were: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.
Pinckney was a pastor of what is referred to as the “Mother Emanuel” AME Church, one of the oldest African-American churches in the United States. He was also a pillar of the local and regional Democratic community, who served as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
“Michelle and I know several members of the Emanuel AME church,” said President Barack Obama on Thursday. “We knew their pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night. And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and sadness and the anger that we feel.”
Roof has confessed to the shooting on Friday, telling authorities his plan was to start a race war.