Police are continuing their investigation into the South Carolina shooting that left nine dead at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the suspect, a White male identified by the FBI as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was arrested by police early Thursday.
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime by authorities.
An investigation is sure to bring more details about the tragic incident and the Lexington, South Carolina gunman responsible, but here’s what we know so far:
– At 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, the first calls of a shooting at the historically Black church start to come through. Police arrive on scene to find eight people fatally shot.
– A ninth person dies after being rushed to the hospital.
– There are reportedly three survivors, including a 5-year-old girl and a woman who was spared by Roof to retell the story to the public.
– Officials confirm that three men and six women were killed by Roof as they attended a prayer meeting at the church. The pastor, State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, is among the dead.
– Officials also confirm that Roof sat with parishioners for an hour before opening fire.
– According to NBC, a cousin of Pinckney spoke with a survivor who said the gunman reloaded his weapon five times. Roof also allegedly said, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
– The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office has launched a hate crime investigation in the wake of the shooting.
– Shortly after his name was released to the public Thursday morning, Roof was arrested during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, about 45 minutes from Charleston.
– Mayor Joe Riley, along with Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, thanked the public for their help in the manhunt for Roof. “That awful person, that terrible human being who would go into a place of worship while people were praying and kill them is now in custody, where he will always remain,” Riley said.
– This isn’t Roof’s first run-in with the law — he was arrested in both March and April for possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. You can read more about Roof’s background, including his ties with hate groups, here.
– During a press conference, President Obama urged the country to re-examine gun violence, saying “the fact that this took place in a Black church also raises questions about a dark part of our history.”
– During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten confirmed the names of the victims — Rev. Clementa Pinkney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Rev. Depayne Middleton, Cynthia Hurd, Suzy Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson and Rev. Daniel Summons Sr.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and the city of Charleston during this difficult time.