Here's What We Know About the Charleston Shooting

June 18th 2015

Last night's shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed six women and three men is developing this morning. Here's everything what we know so far.

  • The FBI has confirmed Dylann Roof of the Columbia area as the chief suspect in last night's shooting, the Post and Courier is reporting. A Charlotte TV news outlet is reporting that Roof was caught in North Carolina:
  • Roof, a 21-year-old white man, received a .45 caliber pistol from his father as a birthday present in April, according to statements from his uncle, Reuters reports.
  • In one photo that has been circulated around the Internet, Roof wears patches on his jacket breast of a Rhodesia flag and an apartheid-era South African flag. Law enforcement released CCTV images of the suspect and his car, which is where his uncle first recognized him, according to Reuters. He reportedly sat in Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for an hour before opening fire, killing eight. A ninth later died in a hospital, the Guardian reports. 
  • The Department of Justice has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting, which many have already called a hate crime. "The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the FBI, and the US Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina are opening a hate crime investigation into the shooting that took place at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The investigation is parallel to and cooperative with the state's investigation," a DOJ spokesperson told the Guardian
  • State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was also Emanuel's pastor, was among the victims killed. Three people reportedly survived the attack and interviews with witnesses continue today. 
  • The incident has opened up questions related to simmering racial tensions in the southern state, where a black man named Walter Scott was killed by a police officer in April. The Guardian points out that a confederate flag still flies near the state building.