Sat | May 27, 2017

Suspect in US church massacre in custody, events timeline

Published:Thursday | June 18, 2015 | 6:50 AM
Images on a flier provided to media, today, by the Charleston Police Department show surveillance footage of a suspect wanted in connection with a shooting today at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

11:32 a.m.

United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch says a suspect is in custody in the fatal shooting inside a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

"I can confirm that there is a suspect in custody," she said.

She gave no other details.

Nine people including the pastor were killed in the Wednesday night shooting. An intense manhunt followed.

Police earlier identified the suspect as 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina. They released surveillance video photographs of the gunman and a dark colored sedan he may have used to get away.

Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen says Roof stayed at a prayer meeting for nearly an hour before he opened fire. Among the dead was state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

Authorities have called the shooting a hate crime.

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11:22 a.m.

Court records show that the suspect in a fatal shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina has one felony drug case pending against him, a past misdemeanor trespassing charge and no other criminal record in the state.

The state and county court records show that 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof had no adult criminal history in South Carolina until March, when he was arrested in Lexington County on felony drug possession charges. That case is pending. County records list no attorney to try to reach for comment.

In April, state police said that Roof, of Lexington, was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing in Lexington County. No further details on that charge were immediately available.

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 believe it was a hate crime.

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10:38 a.m.

Police have identified the suspect in a fatal shooting that killed nine people at a historic black church in downtown Charleston as 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington, South Carolina.

An intense manhunt is underway for Roof. Police have released surveillance video photographs of the gunman and a dark colored sedan he may have used to get away.

Police spokeswoman Barbara Vaughn identified Roof as the suspect Thursday. She says the vehicle he may be driving is a black Hyundai.

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.

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8:45 a.m.

A Justice Department spokesman says federal officials are opening a hate crime investigation into the fatal shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina.

The spokesman said Thursday that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the US Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina are opening the investigation into the Wednesday night shooting.

The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorised to be quoted by name because the federal investigation has not been officially announced.

- Eric Tucker, Associated Press writer in Washington

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8 a.m.

The city of Charleston has opened an assistance center for families of the victims of Wednesday night's fatal shooting at a historic black church.

City spokeswoman Barbara Vaughn says the center will be based at a hotel and will be staffed by local, state and federal victim services personnel, as well as a group of Charleston-area chaplains.

Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the downtown Emanuel AME Church. Police have said there are six female and three male victims. Officials say names won't be released until families are notified. But House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford has said state Sen. Clementa Pinckney was among those killed.

The city's statement on the assistance center asks for privacy for families of the victims.

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7:15 a.m.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says the suspect in a fatal shooting was at a historic black church attending a prayer meeting and stayed for almost an hour.

Mullen says: "He was in the church about an hour before the actual deaths."

Mullen gave the details at a Thursday morning news conference. He also identified the victims of the Wednesday night church shooting as six females and three males. He says names won't be released until families are notified.

The suspect is described as a white man thought to be in his early 20s. Mullen says he's a "very dangerous individual." Mullen says police don't know if anyone was targeted besides the church itself.

Earlier, Mullen said he had no reason to think the suspect has left the Charleston area, but is distributing information about him and the vehicle around the country.

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7:05 a.m.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says the victims of a shooting at a historic black church were six females and three males.

At a news conference Thursday, Mullen did not give other details about the victims. He says names will not be released until families are notified.

The Wednesday night shooting is being called a hate crime. The suspect is described as a white man thought to be in his early 20s. Mullen says the suspect is a "very dangerous individual." Mullen urged people to call police about the suspect and not pursue him or his vehicle on their own.

Earlier, Mullen said he had no reason to think the suspect has left the Charleston area, but is distributing information about the suspect and the vehicle around the country.

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6:10 a.m.

Police say they have surveillance video of a possible suspect and vehicle in the downtown Charleston shooting that's being called a hate crime.

Police Chief Greg Mullen met with reporters early today to distribute the video. Mullen said he couldn't give a specific make and model of the vehicle because they could not be certain from the video.

The suspect is described as a white man thought to be in his early 20s. Mullen said he had no reason to think the suspect has left the Charleston area, but is distributing information about the suspect and the vehicle around the country.

Mullen said police consider the shooting a hate crime. The FBI and state police are helping in the search.

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3:35 a.m. (EDT)

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen says the FBI will be involved in the investigation of a shooting at a historic black church that killed nine and is being called a hate crime.

Mullen said the FBI would aid the investigation while speaking at a news conference that was also attended by FBI Special Agent in Charge David A. Thomas.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford says that among those killed at Emanuel AME Church was the church's pastor, state Senator Clementa Pinckney.

Authorities are still searching for the shooter, who's described as a white male in his early 20s.

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3 a.m. (EDT)

A South Carolina legislative leader says the church's pastor, state Senator Clementa Pinckney, is among those killed in a shooting at a historic black church in downtown Charleston that authorities are calling a hate crime.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford says Pinckney was killed along with eight others in the Wednesday night shooting at Emanuel AME Church.

Authorities are still searching for the shooter, who's described as a white male in his early 20s.

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1 a.m. (EDT)

Charleston police say nine people have been killed in a shooting at a historic black church in what authorities intend to investigate as a hate crime.

Police Chief Greg Mullen says eight people were found dead Wednesday at Emanuel AME Church and another person died later at the hospital.

Mullen says a prayer meeting was going on at the church at the time of the shooting.

The shooter, described as a white male, was not yet in custody.

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12:45 a.m. (EDT)

Mayor Joseph P. Riley has confirmed to The Associated Press that police have told him nine are dead in a shooting at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Riley said he will release more details shortly at a news conference with Charleston police.

Police were still looking for the suspect in the Wednesday night shooting at Emanuel AME Church.

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12:30 a.m. (EDT)

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has responded to the shooting in downtown Charleston.

"While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another," she said in a statement early today morning.

Police were still searching for a white male suspect.

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12:09 a.m. (EDT)

The Post and Courier newspaper reports that Mayor Joe Riley has confirmed there are fatalities in a shooting that occurred at the site of a church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Riley called the Wednesday night shooting "an unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy."

An Associated Press reporter on the scene said police were moving members of the media on the site back because of an "imminent" threat.

GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has canceled Thursday events in the area because of the shooting.