Update 10:34 AM on 6/18/15: The suspect has been identified as Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white male from Columbia, South Carolina.
Update 12:03 PM on 6/18/15: Roof was captured in Shelby, North Carolina, at a traffic stop. Charleston Police Chief is “so pleased that [they] were able to resolve this case quickly.” Reportedly, no one else was harmed.
Early Thursday morning, news broke that a gunman, still at large, shot and killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina. They were at the historically well-known Emanuel Church. The church is one of the oldest African American churches in the United States. When asked to comment, the Charleston Police Chief, Gregory Mullen, stated that he believes this was a hate crime.
A press conference was able to show an image of the suspect from the church’s security camera. He is thin, Caucasian, approximately five feet and nine inches tall, and he has a bowl cut. Mullen asks the citizens of Charleston to be “vigilant,” but he cautions them not to approach the suspect.
While the police did not give information about the make of the car, Mullen tells people that his license plate is distinguishable and presumably, noticeable.
Among the victims was the pastor of the church, Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, age 41. Mullen reported that the police investigated the shooting on Wednesday night around 9:05 PM. Eight were dead on the scene, and two of the wounded victims were rushed to the hospital. One of those victims has now died.
Mullen also stated that what happened is a “tragedy no community should have to experience.” He was also confident to characterize the at-large suspect as “extremely dangerous.” Later, Governor Nikki Haley delivered a statement asking the people of Charleston to “please join [them] in lifting up the victims and their families with [their] love and prayers.” A prayer vigil will be held for the victims at noon on Thursday.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the city of Charleston.