Suspect in Charleston church shooting had apartheid-era jacket patches and recent drug arrest

Dylann Storm Roof drove around with a Confederate flag on his license plate — representing the pro-slavery South that lost the U.S. civil war. On his Facebook page, he wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Dylann Storm Roof drove around with a Confederate flag on his license plate — representing the pro-slavery South that lost the U.S. civil war. On his Facebook page, he wore a jacket with the flags of the former white-racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia.

A picture began to emerge Thursday of the 21-year-old white man arrested in the shooting deaths of nine people during a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston. The Wednesday night attack was decried by stunned community leaders and politicians as a hate crime.

In the hours after the bloodbath, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that tracks hate organizations and extremists, said it was not aware of Roof before the rampage. And some friends said they did not know him to be racist.

“I never thought he’d do something like this,” said high school friend Antonio Metze, 19. “He had black friends.”

Childhood friend Joey Meek had seen him as recently as Tuesday, said Meek’s mother, Kimberly Konzny. She said she didn’t know why he was in Charleston and was not aware of his being involved in any church groups or saying anything racist.

“I don’t know what was going through his head,” Konzny said. “He was a really sweet kid. He was quiet. He only had a few friends.”

Joey Meek alerted the FBI after he and mother instantly recognized Roof in a surveillance camera image that was widely circulated after the bloodbath. In the image, Roof had the same stained sweatshirt he wore while playing Xbox videogames in their home recently, Konzny said. It was stained because he had worked at a landscaping and pest control business, she said.

State court records for Roof as an adult show a felony drug arrest from March that was pending against him and a misdemeanour trespassing charge from April. Authorities had no immediate details. As for any earlier offences, juvenile records are generally sealed in South Carolina.

Court records list no attorney for him.

The president of the Southern Poverty Law Center said the church attack is a reminder of the dangers of homegrown extremism.

“The increase has been driven by a backlash to the country’s increasing racial diversity, an increase symbolized for many by the presence of an African American in the White House,” he said.

Just Posted

Growing drug-fuelled emergencies at Red Deer’s Buffalo transitional housing complex

City council approves two additional mental health staffers at complex

Equalization protests from Alberta likely pre-election talk: Quebec minister

OTTAWA — Quebec’s finance minister brushed off complaints from Alberta on Monday… Continue reading

Car thefts on rise in Canada as thieves target trucks, SUVs: insurance board

TORONTO — A new report says choosy car thieves are setting their… Continue reading

Fenced-off SCS site development approved by Red Deer city council for seven years

‘Sunset clause’ means a new permit will be needed in 2025

Bystanders help Innisfail Mountie make arrest

A 35-year-old Ottawa man is facing a number of charges including resisting arrest

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Ellen Page steps up attack on Nova Scotia pulp mill’s effluent pipeline

HALIFAX — Hollywood actor Ellen Page is doubling down on her criticism… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Most Read