Charleston shooter confesses, first court hearing expected this afternoon

Charleston, S.C., shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, N.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Roof is a suspect in the shooting of several people Wednesday night at the historic The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Law enforcement officials familiar with the Charleston shooting have said Dylann Roof has confessed to authorities to shooting and killing nine people Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

One officer said Roof, a 21-year-old white man, told investigators he wanted to start a race war.

Roof, who was on the lam for approximately 14 hours after the killings at Emanuel AME Church, was apprehended late Thursday morning in Shelby, North Carolina, and was extradited back to Charleston late Thursday.

WCIV first reported Roof is expected to be charged with one count of murder at his initial hearing Friday to start the legal process, though several more charges are expected to be added. Roof’s first hearing is expected to be held via CCTV link Friday afternoon. According to ABC News, South Carolina law says he will not be allowed out on bond.

It has yet to be established whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Roof, which is legal in South Carolina.

If Roof is sentenced with the death penalty, one family member has stepped forward to “press the button.”

Carson Cowles, Roof’s uncle, told ABC News he is disgusted with his nephew’s actions.

“I’ll be the one to push the button. If he’s found guilty, I’ll be the one to push the button myself,” Cowles said. “If what I am hearing is true, he needs to pay for it.”

Maj. Eric Watson, spokesperson for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, said Roof currently is in custody at the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston. Due to the high-profile nature of the crime, Roof will not have contact with the general jail population. Also, due to the nature of the crime and past comments made to other people, Roof has been placed on suicide watch.

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