Suspect captured in fatal Charleston church shooting

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Officials: Suspect In Charleston Church Shooting In Custody

A 21-year-old man who officials believe fatally shot nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina was arrested on Thursday.

The Department of Justice launched a hate crime investigation into the incident in which a 21-year-old man named Dylann Roof allegedly opened fire during a prayer meeting inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, killing nine people, including the church's pastor.

Roof, 21, was reportedly apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina, almost 250 miles away from Charleston, during a traffic stop, according to the Charleston police chief.

An uncle of Roof's named Carson Cowles said he recognized his nephew from surveillance imagery. He described the young man as withdrawn and troubled, and even worried he was "too introverted."

Cowles also recalled that Roof received a gun for his recent birthday in April.

"I actually talked to him on the phone briefly for just a few moments and he was saying well I'm outside target practicing with my new gun," Cowles told Reuters of the birthday present.





Police Chief Greg Mullen said that the suspect attended the prayer meeting and stayed for nearly an hour before he opened fire Wednesday night.

Police said the victims included six females and three males, but did not give any additional information while waiting to notify next of kin. Mullen also reported that three survived the shooting.

Family members told WCIV-TV that a five-year-old was among those who survived after playing dead.

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Charleston SC shooting suspect. Dylann Roof
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Suspect captured in fatal Charleston church shooting
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
Photos found on a website that allegedly belongs to church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.
This image has been provided by the Charleston Police Department, Thursday, June 18, 2015. A man opened fire during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, S.C., Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, killing nine people, including the pastor in an assault that authorities are calling a hate crime. The shooter remained at large Thursday. (Photo via Charleston Police Department)
The Emanuel AME Church is viewed behind a police vehicle on June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the Church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer holds up a tape in front of the Emanuel AME Church June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A view ofthe Emanuel AME Church is seen June 18, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mass shooting at the church on the evening of June 17, 2015. US police on Thursday arrested a 21-year-old white gunman suspected of killing nine people at a prayer meeting in one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston, an attack being probed as a hate crime. The shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the southeastern US city was one of the worst attacks on a place of worship in the country in recent years, and comes at a time of lingering racial tensions. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of church shooting victim Pastor Clementa Pinckney told NBC News that she spoke with one of the shooting survivors, who allegedly told her the gunman reloaded five times.

Johnson also claimed that one of the people inside the church tried to convince the gunman to stop shooting, and that he responded, "'I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country, and you have to go."

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Charleston shooting - tweets, politician reactions, front pages, etc.
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Suspect captured in fatal Charleston church shooting
Senator Pinckney was my friend for over 20 years. I’m speechless, heartbroken and angry. God grant his family some peace right now.
Shocked & heartbroken by the murder of innocent people in #Charleston church. Praying for the victims & their families. #CharlestonShooting
My heart is with beautiful #Charleston this morning. Sending love and prayers to those affected by this tragic shooting.
Hard to comprehend the kind of hate that slaughters innocents in a church during bible study. Very heavy heart. #Charleston
NAACP's #Charlotte chapter announcing a prayer vigil for #Charleston today https://t.co/8amd9983NS
Prayers for #Charleston
Today's tragic front page. http://t.co/uPj4AOavhn #CharlestonShooting #PrayForCharleston #chsnews http://t.co/2qkCWHqu1M
Heartbreaking news from Charleston - my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H
Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by the tragic events in Charleston.
Statement from South Carolina Gov. @nikkihaley on Charleston church shootings http://t.co/cdt2stkbkw
Dr. King at #EmanuelAME. #HistoricBlackChurch #CivilRightsMovement #CharlestonShooting http://t.co/Iu3ihGjQ2V
I'm praying #CharlestonShooting
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