Date
26 September 2017
Dylann Roof is led to the courthouse in Shelby, North Carollna, where he is being held for the mas killings. Photo: Reuters
Dylann Roof is led to the courthouse in Shelby, North Carollna, where he is being held for the mas killings. Photo: Reuters

South Carolina church massacre suspect arrested while fleeing

A 21-year-old white man has made his first court appearance after being arrested in the killing of nine people in a historic African-American church in South Carolina.

CNN is reporting that Dylann Roof waived extradition to South Carolina and is being held by police in Shelby, North Carolina.

Four pastors, including Democratic state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41, were among six women and three men shot dead, according to Reuters.

The mass shooting in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church set off a manhunt that ended after 14 hours when a woman spotted Roof fleeing in a car and followed him for 35 miles to Shelby.

Roof had sat for an hour in a Bible study class with other churchgoers before opening fire.

He told the victims “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go,” Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the church’s slain pastor, was quoted as saying by CNN.

The church has seen racial tensions since its founding almost 200 years ago. 

In the the 1820s, it was burned to the ground after a slave revolt led by one of its founders.

The massacre came after a year of turmoil and protests over race relations, policing and criminal justice in the United States.

President Barack Obama called the killings “senseless murders” and urged action on gun violence. 

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CG/RA

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