Charleston shooting suspect arrested

Police captured the suspect in a mass shooting at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., after a 14-hour manhunt the ended Thursday morning.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was apprehended 250 miles away in Shelby, N.C., around 11 a.m. on Thursday, federal and local law enforcement officials said.


Local police were given a tip about “suspicious activity” in Roof’s car, Charleston police chief Greg Mullen told reporters, and he was picked up in a traffic stop without incident.

“He was cooperative with the officer who stopped him,” Mullen said.

The arrest ends a frantic search for Roof, who allegedly killed nine people after a Wednesday evening prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Church in downtown Charleston.

Roof allegedly attended the service, sat for an hour and began opening fire on other congregants. One of the reported victims was Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church's pastor and a state senator.

“We woke up today and the heart and soul of South Carolina was broken,” a visibly shaken Gov. Nikki Haley (R) told reporters during Thursday’s press conference. “So we have some grieving to do, and we have some pain we have to go through.

“We allow ourselves to grieve, we allow ourselves to pray, we allow ourselves to question why this happened and then we allow ourselves to heal,” she added, choking back tears. “So the healing process will start.”

Roof was believed to be acting on his own, Mullen said.

The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime. A photo seemingly of Roof on what appeared to be his Facebook page showed him in a black jacket with what looked like flag patches of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe. Both nations had policies of racial segregation.

“We will be looking at all the facts and motivations, all the things that led this individual — if he is in fact the shooter — to commit this crime, and we will determine which are the best ways to prosecute the case,” Lynch said.

If tried and convicted, Roof may face the death penalty.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said both President Obama and Vice President Biden personally called him to offer their condolences and pledge federal support for the investigation. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the investigation.

Obama and Biden personally knew Pinckney, the reverend and state lawmaker, and appeared visibly upset during a brief appearance in the White House briefing room.

“To say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel,” Obama said.

“Mother Emanuel is in fact more than a church,” Obama added, referring to its long history as an African-American cultural icon.  “This a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.”

This story was last updated at 12:43 p.m.