Charleston gunman returned to South Carolina | News | DW | 19.06.2015
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Charleston gunman returned to South Carolina

Dylann Storm Roof, arrested for killing nine black people in a South Carolina church, waived the extradition proceedings and was transported back to the state. The 21-year old had been a "sweet kid," acquaintances said.

The 21-year old Roof, suspected of killing three women and six men inside a historic black church, was flown to South Carolina to face charges, North Carolina authorites said Thursday.

Roof was arrested in the North Carolina town of Shelby after a 14-hours manhunt, some 350 km (220 miles) away from the scene of the crime. It is believed that the shooting was racially motivated.

During his extradition hearing on Wednesday, Roof waived his right to court-provided legal council, as well as the legal procedure that would prolong his return to the state where the crime was committed.

He was taken from the court to a squad car with his feet shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back, while wearing a bullet-proof vest, before being formally transfered to the custody of FBI.

The Justice Department has started a hate crime investigation, according to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Bible study

A mugshot photo shows 21 year-old Dylann Roof

A mugshot photo shows 21 year-old Dylann Roof

On Wednesday, Roof spend almost an hour with a Bible study group inside the Charleston church before opening fire, according to police.

Among the victims of the massacre was pastor and a Democrat state Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was a personal acquaintance of President Obama.

Three people manage to survive the attack. Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of senator Pinckney, said a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times during the attack despite pleas for him to stop.

"He just said, 'I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country," Johnson told MSNBC news network.

Roof wanted 'segregation'

Roof's childhood friend, Joey Meek, alerted the FBI after recognizing the shooter on a surveillance camera image.

"I don't know what was going through his head," Meek's mother Kimberly Konzny said. "He was a really sweet kid. He was quiet. He only had a few friends."

Meek said he was a close friend of Roof's during middle school, but that they have lost touch for years before Roof reappeared just weeks ago.

"All the sudden, out of the blue, he started talking about race. He started talking about Trayvon Martin," Meek told The Associated Press Thursday after he was questioned by authorities.

"He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race. He said he wanted segregation between whites and blacks. I said, 'that's not the way it should be.' But he kept talking about it."

dj/rc (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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