Dylann Roof images, apparent manifesto surface on website
21-year-old facing 9 counts of murder after attack at 'Mother Emanuel' church
A website with images of suspected Charleston, S.C. shooter Dylann Roof has surfaced, showing the young man accused of killing nine people in a historic church posing with a gun, a Confederate flag and a burning American flag.
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An apparent manifesto was also found on the site, which surfaced on Saturday. It's unclear if Roof is behind the site, but the writings are in line with what he has told friends and what he said before the shooting on Wednesday night.
The site also contains a nearly 2,500-word racist rant. In it, the author says he was not raised in a racist home but, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, began reading about "black on white crime" on the internet.
The writer also appears to explain the choice of Charleston for racially motivated violence — because at one time it had the highest ratio of blacks to whites, and that racist groups were not "doing anything but talking on the internet."
Internet registry records show that the website was registered on Feb. 9 via a Russian registry service — a common tactic used to obscure personal details or hide who is behind any particular website.
Charleston police didn't immediately respond to a message. Two federal law enforcement officials said the FBI is aware of the website and is reviewing it. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because one was not authorized to speak publicly on the case and the other because the investigation is ongoing.
On Saturday, congregation members said the historic church where nine people were killed will re-open for Sunday morning service.
Cassie Watson said Saturday that the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church will open at 8:30 a.m. for Sunday school and 9 a.m. for a service.
Watson was one of more than a dozen people to enter the building after a cleaning crew had worked on it. Other congregation members also confirmed the church would open Sunday.
Suspect had announced plans, says friend
A friend of the man accused of killing nine people at a black church has said that a week before the attack, the suspect announced plans to shoot up a college campus.
Christon Scriven, who is black, told The Associated Press on Friday that on June 10, while they were getting drunk, Roof announced plans to carry out a mass shooting seven days later at the College of Charleston.
Scriven said he thought the threat was just drunken bluster. Still, he and another friend, Joey Meek, were concerned enough that they went out to Roof's car and retrieved Roof's handgun, hiding it until they all sobered up.
In an earlier interview with The Associated Press, Meek said it scared him enough that he took the gun out of Roof's car and hid it in his house until the next day.
A police affidavit released on Friday accused Roof of shooting all nine victims multiple times, and making a "racially inflammatory statement" as he stood over an unnamed survivor. But Scriven claims that Roof never made any racist remarks around him.
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Roof, 21, faces nine counts of murder after the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, known in Charleston, South Carolina, as "Mother Emanuel" church.
The alleged assailant showed no emotion when he appeared in court Friday via video link to face the charges and to hear statements read by relatives of those who died in the shooting.
Roof was ordered to remain in custody pending his next court appearance on Oct. 23.
Thousands of people gathered at the College of Charleston TD Arena on Friday night for a vigil to honour the nine African-Americans who died of gunfire as they attended a Bible study session last Wednesday.
Roof told police he was on his way to Nashville, Tennessee to do some sightseeing when he was arrested in Shelby, N.C., on Thursday, according to a report from WBTV in North Carolina.
A source in the Shelby police department told the station Roof allegedly spoke in detail about what happened in the church and that the conversation was recorded.
"He told them he had been planning his attack for some time and that he chose this church because he knew of its historic importance to the African-American community," said CBC's Keith Boag, reporting from Charleston.
Roof reportedly joined the Bible study group in prayer for about an hour and considered not going ahead with the plan.
"He decided in the end that if he didn't do it, no one else would," Boag reported. "He didn't learn until the next day he had killed nine people."
With files from CBC News