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Charleston church shooting suspect captured by police

The 21-year-old white man suspected of shooting dead nine black people was captured this afternoon.

Updated 20.15pm

Charleston Shooting Dylann Roof, 21. Source: AP

A 21-YEAR-OLD white man suspected of shooting dead nine people at a church in the southeastern US city of Charleston has been captured, media reports said this afternoon.

Dylann Roof was taken into custody in North Carolina, according to CNN and two local television stations.

Earlier there were reports that a man had opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people in an assault that authorities described as a hate crime.

The names of the victims are to be released shortly.

Police Chief Greg Mullen said he believed the attack at the Emanuel AME Church was a hate crime.

APTOPIX Charleston Shooting Source: AP

“The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” said Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley.

It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. … This is one hateful person.

A Facebook picture of Dylann Roof has emerged where he is wearing two patches that have been identified by many observers as the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa.

charles 2 Dylann Roof Source: Business Insider/Facebook

Both of these flags represent defunct African governments whose regimes were controlled by white minorities. Both countries had racial segregation policies, and as a result they are admired by many American white supremacists.

Witnesses have reportedly said the killer declared he was there “to shoot black people.”

In a statement, Gov. Nikki Haley asked South Carolinians to pray for the victims and their families and decried violence on religious places.

Soon after Wednesday night’s shooting, a group of pastors huddled together praying in a circle across the street.

APTOPIX Charleston Shooting Source: AP

Community organiser Christopher Cason said he felt certain the shootings were racially motivated.

“I am very tired of people telling me that I don’t have the right to be angry,” Cason said. “I am very angry right now.”

Even before Scott’s shooting in April, Cason said he had been part of a group meeting with police and local leaders to try to shore up better relationships.

Charleston Shooting Source: AP

The Emmanuel AME church is a historic African-American church that traces its roots to 1816, when several churches split from Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal church.

One of its founders, Denmark Vesey, tried to organise a slave revolt in 1822. He was caught, and white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Parishioners worshipped underground until after the Civil War.

Additional reporting by Business Insider 

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