CHARLESTON, S.C. (CBS/AP) — Law enforcement sources have arrested the accused Charleston church massacre suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, 21.
Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the downtown Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday night. Police say the young white man joined a prayer meeting at the church and then opened fire. Authorities have called it a hate crime. Federal officials have opened an investigation.
There’s a small but growing memorial taking shape, a block from the historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were shot and killed last night in what authorities are calling a hate crime.
One man who left flowers at the memorial near the Emanuel AME Church today said he’s “in shock” over the shootings. Bob Dyer, who works in the area, says he feels “like it’s 9/11 again.”
Evangeline Simmons, who stood at a police barricade near the scene, said of the shooting, “It’s like it’s just trying to strip away part of your faith.” But Simmons, who says she belongs to another AME congregation, said, “It just makes you stronger.”
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. called the shooting “an unfathomable and unspeakable act by somebody filled with hate and with a deranged mind.”
And the head of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks, said, “There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.”
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Democrat whose district includes the church, said the shooting “should be a warning to us all” that there is both “a race problem” and a “gun problem” in the United States. He said, “We need to act on them quickly.”