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Charleston church shooting suspect charged with nine murders

Dylann Storm Roof was arrested yesterday after allegedly shooting nine people dead.

Updated 1825pm

Dylann-Storm-Roof Dylann Storm Roof. His jacket bears badges of Apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Source: Facebook

THE MAN SUSPECTED of gunning down nine people at a black church in South Carolina has been charged with their murders, as the state’s governor called for him to face the death penalty.

It’s reported Dylann Storm Roof felt that black people were “taking over the world”.

Roof was arrested last night 300km from the South Carolina city, after nine people were shot dead at the Emmanuel Church, an historic black church.

Childhood friend Joseph Meeks told the Associated Press said that Roof had reconnected with him in recent weeks, railing about the Trayvon Martin case, about black people “taking over the world” and about the need for someone to do something about it for the sake of “the white race”.

In the hours after the Wednesday night bloodbath, a portrait began to take shape of Roof as someone with racist views and at least two recent run-ins with the law.

On his Facebook page, the young white man wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.

APTOPIX Charleston Shooting Source: AP Photo

Meeks said that the pair had been drinking recently and Roof had told him of “a plan”.

“He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, ‘That’s not the way it should be.’ But he kept talking about it.”

Meeks said Roof also told him that he had used birthday money from his parents to buy a gun and that he had “a plan.”

He didn’t elaborate on what it was, but Meeks said he was worried — and said he knew Roof had the “Glock” — a .45 caliber pistol — in the trunk of his car.

Meek said he took the gun from the trunk of Roof’s car and hid it in his house, just in case.

“I didn’t think he would do anything,” he said.

Charleston Shooting Source: AP Photo

But the next day, when Roof was sober, he gave it back.

Joseph Meek said he didn’t see his friend again until a surveillance-camera image of a young man with a soup-bowl haircut was broadcast on television Thursday morning in the wake of the shooting. Meek said he didn’t think twice about calling authorities.

“I didn’t THINK it was him. I KNEW it was him,” he said.

Reaction

Across the States, there has been a wave of repulsion against the killings.

“Black lives matter” and “Stop killing black people” were among the placards held aloft by a small band of about 60 demonstrators — black and white — gathered in Union Square in Manhattan.

Dylann Storm Roof Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina. Source: Apexchange

Jen Tullock, actress and screen writer, 31, said: “We are sick of people of color being killed in this country. I am heart broken.”

Richard Price, executive assistant at the Harlem Church of Christ, said: “This is crazy, for someone to go into a church when you’re having bible study, that someone would come and infiltrate that sacred space, one of the only spaces we ever really have, and to violate that space, and then to shoot the place up…

“We’ve got to speak up as much as we can and voice this frustration. This is a deep, deep-seated hurt that may never ever heal.”

Source: MeTheNews2/YouTube

Comedian Jon Stewart hit out at the American reaction, calling the attack terrorism and saying that while the US fears foreign attacks, they “are nothing compared to the damage we do to ourselves”.

First published 08.08am Additional reporting Christina Finn 

Read: Charleston church shooting suspect captured by police

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